Sunday, September 28, 2008

Grammar Googly- 1

1 . If a Singular object is separated by a comma from an accompanying phrase it remains singular.

Correct : Ricky, accompanied by his wife was at the party.

Incorrect : Rickey, accompanied by his wife were at the party.

2 . A relative pronoun should be placed as close to its antecedent as possible.

Correct : I have read writings of Plato, who was a disciple of Socrates.

Incorrect : I have read Plato's writing who was a disciple of Socrates.

Antecedent- The noun for which the pronoun is used.

Plato is the noun and its antecedent is who (relative pronoun)

3 . A reflexive pronoun cannot be used alone as a subject of the verb. It must be preceded by some other noun or pronoun.

Correct : Her mother and I were standing there.

Incorrect : Myself and her mother were standing there.

Reflexive pronoun- Formed by adding self/selves to the pronoun.

4. An intransitive verb will always be followed by a subject pronoun.

Correct : It must have been she at the door.

Incorrect : It must have been her at the door.

Correct : I wish I were he.

Incorrect : I wish I were him.

Correct : He didn't know that it was I who did it.

Incorrect : He didn’t know that it was me who did it.

Intransitive Verb

An intransitive verb is an action verb (that is, it is neither a linking verb nor an auxiliary verb) which does not have a direct object.

The action is still being done, but it is not being done to anything or anyone else.

Most verbs can be both intransitive and transitive depending on the sentence. The verb to go, however, is always intransitive.

Transitive: He runs a large corporation.
(The verb runs has a direct object, corporation.)

Intransitive: He runs around the block daily.
(There is no direct object.)

5 . When in doubt about the correctness of who and whom try substituting subject/object of simpler pronouns to clarify the meaning.

Example : I didn't know who/whom Rakesh meant.

Try substituting he/him

Ravi meant he (wrong)

Ravi meant him (correct)

Example : There was a discussion as to who/whom is better suited.

Substituting she/her

She is better suited. (Correct)

Her is better suited. (Wrong)

6 . 'I don’t have' is used for things occurring habitually. 'I haven't' is used for particular occasions.

Correct: I haven't the time to go to the movie today.

Incorrect : I don't have time to go to the movie today.

7 . Conjunction 'though' and 'but' cannot be used together.

8. When a pronoun is the object of the preposition, it is used in the objective case.

Correct: No one including Sunil and me agree to the cause.

Incorrect: No one including Sunil and I agree to the cause.

'me' is the object of the preposition 'including' and hence used in objective case. 'I' is the nominative case.

Nominative case



1st person



2nd person



3rd person

He, She, It


Objective Case



1st person



2nd person



3rd person

Him, Her, It


Possessive Case



1st person

My, Mine

Our, Ours

2nd person

You, Yours

You, Yours

3rd person

His, Her, Its


9 . A pronoun or a noun preceding a gerund should always be in the possessive case.

Correct: My mother does not like my going to the party.

Incorrect: My mother does not like me going to the party.

Correct : He was happy at his brother's coming home at the festival.

A gerund is a verbal that ends in -ing and functions as a noun.

10. Order of placing person

1. Third person

2. Second person

3. First person

Example: Rashmi, You and I went to the party.

11. If two actions happened in the past, it may be necessary to show which action occurred earlier than the other. The past perfect is mainly used in such situations. The simple past is used in one clause and past perfect in the other.

Example : I had done my exercise when Harish came to see me.

Example: I had written the letter before he arrived.

Example: Everyone in the class had finished the assignment before the bell rang.

12: In the sentences that include verbs of persuasion, a person exerts his will over another or causes an individual to do something. The verb of persuasion will be located in the first clause; the main verb will be in the 'base form' or 'infinitive form'.

Correct : I insist that she study hard.

Incorrect: I insist that she should study hard.

Correct : I demand they stop this at once.

Incorrect: I demand they should stop this at once.

Correct : The girl next door suggested that the boy buy the boat with cash.

Incorrect: The girl next door suggested that the boy should buy the boat with cash.

The Subjunctive Mood

A verb is in the subjunctive mood when it expresses a condition which is doubtful or not factual. It is most often found in a clause beginning with the word if. It is also found in clauses following a verb that expresses a doubt, a wish, regret, request, demand, or proposal.

These are verbs typically followed by clauses that take the subjunctive:

ask, demand, determine, insist, move, order, pray, prefer, recommend, regret, request, require, suggest, and wish.

In English there is no difference between the subjunctive and normal, or indicative, form of the verb except for the present tense third person singular and for the verb to be.

The subjunctive for the present tense third person singular drops the -s or -es so that it looks and sounds like the present tense for everything else.

The subjunctive mood of the verb to be is be in the present tense and were in the past tense, regardless of what the subject is.

Incorrect : If I was you, I would run.

Correct : If I were you, I would run.
(The verb follows if and expresses a non-factual condition.)

Incorrect : I wish he was able to type faster.

Correct : I wish he were able to type faster.
(The second verb is in a clause following a verb expressing a wish. It also suggests a non-factual or doubtful condition.)

Incorrect : His requirement is that everyone is computer literate.

Correct : His requirement is that everyone be computer literate.
(Subordinate clause follows main clause with a demand.)

Incorrect : He recommended that each driver reports his tips.

Correct : He recommended that each driver report his tips.

13. When 'each', 'every' or 'many a' precedes two or more subjects linked by 'and', they separate the subjects and the verb is singular.

Correct: Each of the book's protagonist- Mark, Mary and Thomas has a powerful personality.

14. A noun or pronoun in the possessive case should not be used as an antecedent to relative pronoun.

Correct : Do not forget the enthusiasm of him who brought the movement so far.

Incorrect: Do not forget his enthusiasm who brought the movement so far.

His here is in the possessive case hence cannot be used as an antecedent for relative pronoun 'who'

15. The word superior, inferior, senior, junior, prior, anterior, and posterior take to instead of than.

Correct : Rajiv is inferior to Ravi .

Incorrect: Rajiv is inferior than Ravi .

16. 'Like' and 'Unlike' signal comparison, so when a sentence starts with 'like' or 'unlike' make sure that the sentence compares similar things, things that can be logically compared and things that are in the same grammatical form.

Correct: Unlike the people who settled in the western state after the passage of the homeland act, the prospectors and adventurers who came to California during the gold rush hoped to get rich quickly.

Here similar things, 'people who settled' the western state are compared to the 'prospectors and adventurers'

Correct : Sikhism's teachings, like those of most other religions, are codified in a book.

Incorrect : Like most other religions, the teachings of Sikhism are codified in a book.

You cannot compare 'most religions' to 'teachings of Sikhism'. The correct sentence should compare teachings to teachings and religions to religions. 'Those' in the correct sentence stand for teachings. Since those follow 'teachings', hence pronoun 'those' stand for noun 'teachings'.

17. Connectors or in built parallel structures

Either… or

As much….as

Not so much…as

And or yet

Both… and

Neither… nor

Not… only

But… also

Not only is always followed by BUT ALSO.

NOR only comes after NEITHER.

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