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.
Table of Contents
UNIT I: SUBJECTS, VERBS, AND SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT.
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.
UNIT II: PRONOUNS.
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.
UNIT III: CLAUSES AND KINDS OF SENTENCES.
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
UNIT IV: DESCRIPTORS, MODIFIERS, PARALLELISM.
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.
UNIT V: PUNCTUATION.
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.