Higher Education

Building Better Grammar, 1st Edition

  • Gina Hogan Citrus College
  • ISBN-10: 0495905143  |  ISBN-13: 9780495905141
  • 288 Pages
  • © 2013 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $29.50
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Teaching grammar in blocks as part of a building activity provides students with an easy to remember image that helps them understand and apply good sentence construction. This building process helps students see how each grammar concept or building block sets the foundation for the next concept or building block; as a result, their confidence in writing grows the more they learn and practice. As the first book of the Building Better series, Building Better Grammar builds students' knowledge of effective sentence construction to get them to the next step of putting sentences together successfully for coherent paragraphs and essays. The Building Better series developed out of a need to help more students succeed in learning to write effectively. This technique of "building writing" makes the writing process a manageable one because it allows students to practice each concept or block separately, to see how it shapes subsequent blocks, and to increase their understanding and confidence along the way. Many writing books present grammar content too complexly without enough opportunities for practice, or present so many topics that simply overwhelm the student. The Building Better series evolved with developmental students in mind; the textbooks are designed to be flexible enough that all college students or writing instructors can use them as a quick reference guide. Instructors looking for a rich focus on sentence construction, simple and brief explanations that are easy to remember, and variety of practice exercises will find it in Building Better Grammar.

Features and Benefits

  • Building Block Organization. Students who learn the basic elements of a sentence (like subjects, verbs, and prepositions) gain confidence in the elements a complete sentence should have. When they transition to building more challenging sentences (like compound, complex, and compound-complex), they retain their proficiency in keeping the basic structure of a sentence, yet feel comfortable to achieve more variety, and their confidence in their writing capabilities increases. Realistic model sentences demonstrate the kind of sentence writing expected of students.
  • Building Skills. Students participate in real, structured, writing exercises throughout the chapters of Building Better Grammar. The chapters encourage students to apply grammar skills to editing fiction and non-fiction texts and to writing on different topics in preparation for academic writing. The Building Skills exercises have students use increased levels of effort and independence to immediately practice newly learned skills, transitioning from identifying successful sentence writing in practice sets to producing their own effective sentences based on engaging, modern subjects. Building Skills Together promotes collaborative work essential to writing and engagement. Chapter Skills Review provide comprehensive, cumulative practice for each grammar concept.
  • Memory Tips. Memory Tips present students with inventive, class-tested methods for remembering writing conventions and processes, many times with a unique mnemonic device. By highlighting important concepts, students can remember the steps to sentence construction and feel empowered when they set out to do the task on their own.

Table of Contents

1. The First Building Block: Subjects.
Nouns. Types of Nouns. Pronouns. Identifying the Subject. Simple and Compound Subjects. Recognizing Subjects in Tricky Situations. Subjects in Imperative Sentences. Subjects as Distinct from Prepositional Phrases. Subjects in Declarative Sentences with Here and There. Subjects in Interrogative Sentences. Sentences with Gerunds and Infinitives as Subjects. Infinitives. Chapter One Skills Review: Subjects.
2. The Second Building Block: Verbs.
Action and Being Verbs. Simple and Compound Verbs. Verb Tenses. The Simple Tense. Simple Present. Simple Past. Simple Future. The Perfect Tense. Present Perfect. Past Perfect. Future Perfect. The Progressive Tense. Present Progressive. Past Progressive. Future Progressive. The Perfect Progressive Tense. Present Perfect Progressive. Past Perfect Progressive. Future Perfect Progressive. Regular and Irregular Verbs. Regular Verbs. Tricky Situations with Regular Verbs. Irregular Verbs. Tricky Situations with Irregular Verbs. Verb Tense Consistency. Passive and Active Voice. Chapter Two Skills Review: Verbs.
3. The Third Building Block: Subject-Verb Agreement.
Subject-Verb Agreement. Rules for Subject-Verb Agreement. Singular Subject Rules. Plural Subject Rules. Subject Agreement and Regular and Irregular Verbs. Tricky Situations in Subject-Verb Agreement. Chapter Three Skills Review: Subject-Verb Agreement.
4. The Fourth Building Block: Pronouns.
Pronoun Usage. Subjective Case. Objective Case. Possessive Case. Other Pronouns. Who vs. Whom. Demonstrative Pronouns. Relative Pronouns. Interrogative Pronouns. Reflexive Pronouns. Pronoun Antecedent Agreement. Pronoun Agreement with Person. Pronoun Agreement with Number. Tricky Situations with Pronouns and Numbers. Pronoun Agreement with Gender. Chapter Four Skills Review: Pronouns.
5. The Fifth Building Block: Clauses.
Clauses. Types of Clauses. Independent Clause: A Clause that Makes Sense on Its Own. Dependent Clause: A Clause that Requires More Information to Make Complete Sense. Chapter Five Skills Review: Clauses.
6. The Sixth Building Block: Kinds of Sentences.
Simple Sentences. Sentence Variety. Joining Independent Clauses: Compound Sentences. Coordinating Conjunctions. Adverbial Conjunctions. Semicolons. Joining An Independent Clause with a Dependent Clause: Complex Sentences. Subordinating Conjunctions. Joining Multiple Independent and Dependent Clauses: Compound-Complex Sentences. Chapter Six Skills Review: Sentence Combining.
7. The Seventh Building Block: Avoiding Common Sentence.
Errors. Fragments. Run-ons. Comma Splices. Chapter Seven Skills Review: Faulty Sentences
8. The Eighth Building Block: Adjectives and Adverbs as Modifiers.
Descriptive Modifiers. Adjectives. Adverbs. Common Mistakes with Adjectives and Adverbs. Comparative and Superlative Forms. Regular Adjectives and Adverbs. Irregular Adjectives and Adverbs. Four More Tricky Adjectives and Adverbs. Chapter Eight Skills Review: Adjectives and Adverbs.
9. The Ninth Building Block: Using Modifiers Correctly.
Misplaced Modifiers. Dangling Modifiers. Chapter Nine Skills Review: Dangling or Misplaced Modifiers.
10. The Tenth Building Block: Parallelism.
Parallelism. Parallelism with Pairs. Parallelism with Lists. Parallelism in Comparisons (Than or As). Parallelism with Paired Expressions. Chapter Ten Skills Review: Parallelism.
11. The Eleventh Building Block: Comma Use.
Commas Used to Separate. Commas and Conjunctions. Commas and Items in a List. Commas and Introductory Expressions. Commas to Enclose. Commas and Interrupters. Commas and Direct Address. Commas with Dates and Addresses. Chapter Eleven Skills Review: Commas.
12. The Twelfth Building Block: Other Types of Punctuation.
Apostrophe. Semicolon. Colon. Dash and Parenthesis. Hyphen. Quotation Marks. Chapter Twelve Skills Review: Punctuation.
Appendix A: Parts of Speech.
Nouns. Pronouns. Verbs. Adjectives. Adverbs. Prepositions. Conjunctions. Interjections. Appendix A: Skills Review: Identifying Parts of Speech.
Appendix B: Spelling.
Create Spelling Lists. Learn the ei/ie rule. Know Commonly Misspelled Words. Know Commonly Confused Words. Know Word Endings. Appendix Skills Review: Spelling
Appendix C: English as a Second Language Concerns.
Nouns. Articles. Verbs. Prepositions.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"Many times textbooks are heavily emphasize terminology instead of practicality….The approach proposed for Building Better Grammar seems to be more in line with streamlining some of the wordiness involved that may sometimes turn off students and some instructors alike. Breaking down the learning process , so that it builds upon itself makes good sense. Developmental English learners cannot be assumed to know or understand some precepts, and this approach of covering material before we build upon it might work wonders for comprehension and application."

— Maria Villar-Smith, Miami Dade College

"Building Better Grammar is simple, accessible, and clear. It's a great place to begin--more than a reference--and not just a workbook."

— Elizabeth Sarcone, Delta State University

"I'm very impressed with the clarity presented here, and I truly appreciate the practice sets! I so enjoy looking over the exercises here and imagining how I would employ individual and group work while covering this material. Students will gain excellent practice with each set of exercises designed for the new concepts presented. This allows for practice before the instruction is forgotten. Students get to employ what they are learning immediately! The exercises are fun and challenging. I sense confidence will be gained upon the completion of the exercises both in class and at home."

— Traci Gourdine, American River College


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

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Instructor Supplements

Grammar, Paragraphs and Essays Instructor's Resource Manual  (ISBN-10: 0840028423 | ISBN-13: 9780840028426)

Streamline and maximize the effectiveness of your course preparation using this Instructor's Manual.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Gina Hogan

Gina Baaklini Hogan is a tenured professor in the English department at Citrus Community College in Glendora, California. She has developed and taught developmental English courses, trained and mentored faculty in teaching developmental writing, and helped create Citrus College's Writing Across-the-Curriculum Center. She is the Chair of the College Success Committee, a committee that advocates the core principles of Citrus' developmental program. Gina has an MS in Business Administration and an MA in English Composition and Literature and is currently working on a doctorate in Education (Ed.D). Gina is a naturalized citizen of the United States, and English is her third language. She understands the challenges inherent to learning effective communication skills, and her passion is helping others learn to write clearly and to appreciate the English language.