Communications Class - Basic Grammar




  • A word that describes a person, place, thing, or idea.
  • Examples: girl (person), tent (place), eraser (thing)


Proper Noun

  • The name of a specific person, place, or thing that begins with a capital letter
  • Examples: John F. Kennedy (person), Jupiter (place), Gettysburg Address (thing)



  • A pronoun can take the place of a noun
  • Examples: it, he, she, they



  • A word that tells about an action (run, swim, jump)
  • May be past, present, or future tense (walked, walk, will walk)
  • May express state of being (is, am, was, were, are, being, been, be)



  • Describe a noun and also answer the questions: What kind? (small) How many? (three) Which one(s)?  (Joe’s)
  • Example: The leaves on Joe’s three small trees turned red.



  • A word that describes a verb, often ends in –ly, and answers: How? When? Where? To what extent?
  • Examples: He drove slowly. (How?) The train arrived early. (When?) She went to the movies. (Where?) The dog ran away. (To what extent?)



  • Relate a noun or pronoun to another word in the sentence and usually tell where some-thing is, where something is going, or when something is happening
  • Examples: inside (where?), before (when?)




Apostrophe (’)

  • Shows possession (Sarah’s watch)
  • Contractions (don’t, haven’t, can’t)
  • Creates plurals of lowercase letters (a’s, p’s, x’s)


Colon (:)

  • Introduces lists (There are four seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall.)
  • Introduces long quotations (Martin Luther King Jr. said: “I have a dream that one day…”)
  • Separates hours from minutes (4:00, 10:35)
  • Introduces a definition (hat: a covering for the head)


Comma (,)

  • Separates clauses in sentences (The sun came out, which was good for the flowers.)
  • Separates three or more words in a series (She had bacon, eggs, juice, and an apple for breakfast.)
  • Separates a city from a state (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  • Separates the month and day from the year (July 3, 1979)
  • Separates a direct quotation in a sentence (Lauren said, “My favorite day is Friday.”)


Period (.)

  • Ends most sentences (I will go fishing today.)
  • Follows most initials (E. B. White, F. Scott Fitzgerald)
  • Follows most abbreviations (6 ft. 5 in.)


Exclamation Point (!)

  • Ends exclamatory sentences (Hurry up!)
  • Separates an interjection from a sentence (Hooray! You did it!)


Semi-Colon (;)

  • Connects two independent clauses (This could be a complete sentence; this could be another one.)





  • A word of similar or like meaning
  • Examples: baby and infant, sick and ill, freedom and liberty



  • A word of opposite meaning
  • Examples: short and tall, more and less, near and far



  • Words that are spelled and sound the same but have different meanings
  • Example: bear (animal) and bear (to carry)



  • Words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings
  • Examples: dye and die, sea and see



  • Compares two unlike things and is usually introduced by the words like or as
  • Examples: Thomas was quiet like a mouse. Susan is as slow as a turtle.



  • A comparison of two different things to show a likeness between them without using the words like or as
  • Examples: She is a delicate flower. He is a teddy bear.



  • Combines two normally contradictory terms
  • Examples: bitter sweet, act naturally, old news



  • An obvious and intentional exaggeration not to be taken literally
  • Example: I have a million things to do today.