On Grammar 

You must "know your grammar" to make effective word and stylistic choices when you speak and write.  At the same time, breaking grammar "rules" or conventions can be appropriate when rhetorical considerations of audience and purpose call for it.  For example, you wouldn't use the same "grammar" to write an Instant Message as you would to write an English paper.  Of course, you can't break the rules until you know them. To that end, we will undertake an extensive grammar, punctuation and mechanics review of Standard American (Edited) English through online exercises that accompany your handbook, Hacker's A Writer's Reference.  

It is also important to understand that for certain audiences and purposes, it may be most appropriate to write in non-standard forms--yes, even Ebonics!  Linguistically speaking, all dialects are equal.  There are no "bad" or "incorrect" dialects, just as French is no "better" than English or British English is no better than American English.  Unfortunately, however, some dialects are victims of "linguistic prejudice," the product of ignorance and faulty thinking.  A Jewish linguist, Max Weinreich, captured the connections between language and power very well when he wrote that  "A language is a dialect with an army and a navy."  

While Standard English has become the expected means of communicating in most professional spheres, both nationally and internationally,  the person who can "code switch" between different dialects or, better still, different languages, will be the more successful communicator in global and local communities.

Note that while most conventions of usage you will practice here work well in newswriting, there may be exceptions.  When writing news stories for the class, you should also follow the conventions in the Associated Press Stylebook which is on pp. 595-603 in Fedler.  


Instructions for completing the exercises:

1.  Read the appropriate sections in Hacker before doing the exercises.  If you neglect this step, you won't make a good score on the exercises, and you must score 90% or redo them.  Your scores are reported automatically to your instructor.  Note that a few of the exercises are non-scoring because there is more than one possible answer.  You won't need to score 90% on these; just do the exercises, and they will be recorded as completed on the online record I receive.

Here are the sections in Hacker you will need to read.  Page numbers are not given because of the variations in the Hacker editions. Search the index for these topics. You are usually required to do  two exercises for each grammar point.  Numbers in parenthesis (in the chart below) indicate how many exercises to do for that particular grammar/punctuation issue.

Punctuation--Total of 8 Exercises Major uses of the comma (2), Misuses of the comma; Semi-colon and the comma (2), Colon, semi-colon and the comma; Apostrophe; Quotation marks
Sentence Style--Total of 13 Exercises Parallelism (2), Misplaced Modifiers (2), Dangling Modifiers (2), shifts: person and number (1), Shifts: tense (1), Shifts (1), Mixed Constructions (2), Choppy Sentences (2) 
Word Choice-- Total of 6 Exercises Wordy sentences (2); Active vs. Passive verbs; Active vs. be verbs; Sexist Language; Cliches and misused metaphors
Grammatical Sentences--Total of 8 Exercises Pronoun reference (2), Pronoun case (2), Sentence fragments (2), Run-on sentences (2)
Mechanics--Total of 1 Exercise Italics (or in pre-computer days, underlining)
Total Number of Exercises=36 But don't worry.  They are quick!

Of course, the goal is not only to master the exercises, but to use the grammar conventions correctly in your own writing.  Please make a special effort to avoid these errors.  There will be a grammar and punctuation component on your mid-term and final exam.

2.  Go to Hacker's Web Site

3.  Click on Grammar Exercises> Sentence Style (or whatever unit you are working on) then the specific exercise you want to do.

4.  Enter your name :  lastname, firstname    Do this the same way each time

5.  Enter my email address (twice):  karyn.hollis@villanova.edu

6.  Do the exercises.  Click on "Next" to advance to the following question. 

7.  Click on "Score" when you have finished the exercises in a unit.  If your score is not 90% or above, you must redo the exercises.

8.  Don't print out your score or the exercises.  I will receive an automatic, online report.

9.  All exercises are to be completed by