Friday, December 31, 2010

The Adverb

 
Verbs—as powerful as they are—can only express so much information before they reach their limit.  That’s when verbs need a courageous teammate to lend them a helping hand; that’s when verbs need the power of The Adverb!
The Adverb is a modifier, and she uses her super handy modifying tool to help give verbs the extra punch that they need to power up a sentence.  She does this by adding descriptive information about the specific verb she’s modifying.

For example, the verb fight in the sentence, “I fight.” can only tell you: I fight. But an adverb modifying that verb can tell you when (I fight now), where (I fight here), why (I fight for justice), and how (I fight diligently).

By simply adding an adverb, you can boost, intensify, and clarify the meaning of your sentences—and that’s the true power of The Adverb.  And although her name is The Adverb, this hero doesn’t limit her amazing powers to just helping verbs.  She also helps adjectives and other adverbs too! 

SUPER POWERS: 
The Adverb has the ability to modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs in a sentence.  By modifying these words, she helps answer these questions: when? where? why? and how? 

SUPER TEAMWORK: 
The Adverb's useful sentence-enhancing powers make her a valued member of The Amazing Eight (A.K.A. parts of speech), and a powerful ally to The Verb, but this hero doesn’t stop there.  The Adverb can also use her powers to modify adjectives and other adverbs in a sentence.  Now, that’s teamwork. 

SUPER EXAMPLES:

#1) 

The invasion begins immediately.

immediately: adverb modifying a verb (begins when?)
#2) 

We’ll make our stand here.

here: adverb modifying a verb (make where?)

#3)

I’m glowing because I’m radioactive.

Because I’m radioactive: adverb phrase modifying a verb (glowing why?)

#4)

He expertly deflected the bullet.

expertly: adverb modifying a verb (deflected how?)

#5)

She has a very long reach.

very: adverb modifying an adjective (how long?)

#6)

My enemy attacked surprisingly fast.

surprisingly: adverb modifying another adverb (how fast?)

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Fragment

The Sentence Fragment is a weak and crumbly bad guy who enjoys breaking up the strength and stability of your sentences.

Watch out for this character because there's nothing he loves more than putting your sentences on shaky ground.  He does this by making you use incomplete sentences.  A sentence needs both a subject and a predicate in order to be strong and complete.  If a sentence is missing either the subject or predicate, then it’s not really a sentence—it’s only a weak fragment.
  
SUPER POWERS:
The Fragment sneaks into your writing and makes your sentences crumble and fall apart, just like he does.

SUPER EXAMPLES:

#1)

The Mole King and his legions.

Fragment: missing a predicate (The Mole King and his legions are doing what?)

The Mole King and his legions are attacking.

Fixed: by adding a predicate

#2

Eating up the entire city.

Fragment: missing a subject (Who or what is eating up the city?)

Hipposaurus Rex is eating up the entire city.

Fixed: by adding a subject

#3)

With his x-ray vision.

Fragment: missing a subject and predicate (Who is doing what with x-ray vision?)

View Master spotted the bomb with his x-ray vision.

Fixed: by adding both a subject and a predicate

STOPPING THE FRAGMENT:
The Fragment loves a fractured sentence, but this cracked character is no match for the combined strength of The Subject and The Predicate.  As hard as he might try, he'll never be able to break down the stability of the Completion Team.  So remember, if you don't want your sentences to crumble and fall apart—never let The Fragment break up the team! 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Double Negative

They say that two negatives equal a positive—and this is true—but these two naysayers equal nothing but trouble for your sentences.  They are the Double Negative Team, and these two troublesome twins are always trying to trick you into making a gigantic grammar mistake.
One negative word in a sentence is fine, but if the Double Negative Team gets you to use two negative words in the same sentence then they’ve succeeded in tricking you into saying the exact opposite of what you mean. 

For example, if you want to say that you are not a villain, you can make a sentence that says, “I’m no villain.”  This sentence lets everyone know, very clearly, that you are not a villain.  Notice that this sentence only has one negative word: no

Now, let’s add a second negative word to the same sentence, “I’m not no villain.” It might sound like you’re saying that you’re not a villain, but the second negative word changes the sentence (and its meaning) into the opposite of what you wanted to say.  If you’re not no villain, then you must be a villain.

no villain = no villain              not no villain = yes villain

It’s a very sneaky trick, and it’s not always easy to catch, especially if you’re not prepared for it.  So, learn to recognize negative words, and the next time you see two of them in the same sentence—think twice.  It just might be the Double Negative Team trying to trick you with their double dealing double talk!

EVIL POWERS:
By tricking you into using two negative words in the same sentence, The Double Negative Team has the power to make you say the exact opposite of what you mean.

SUPER EXAMPLES:

#1)
You’re not no superhero.

Double negative: if you’re not no superhero, then you must be a superhero


You’re not a superhero.

Fixed: by removing the second negative, no

#2)
You can’t never stop me.

Double negative: if you can’t never stop me, then you can stop me


You can’t stop me.

Fixed: by removing the second negative, never

#3)
I don’t want nobody to get hurt.

Double negative: if you don’t want nobody to get hurt, then you must want somebody to get hurt


I don’t want anybody to get hurt.

Fixed: by changing the second negative word, nobody, into a positive word, anybody

#4)
I don’t know nothing about a robbery.

Double negative: (if you don’t know nothing about a robbery, then you must know something about a robbery


I don’t know anything about a robbery.

Fixed: by changing the second negative word, nothing, into a positive word, anything


  *Super Grammar BOOKS, WORKSHEETS, and POSTERS are available here: STORE 

STOPPING THE DOUBLE NEGATIVE TEAM:
Learn to recognize negative words and always watch out for more than one negative word in a sentence.  If you can do that, you’ll always win against the Double Negative Team. 

And remember:

















NEGATIVE WORDS:

No, not, never, none, nothing, no-one, nobody, nowhere, neither, don’t, can’t, cannot, won’t,  wouldn’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t, isn’t, wasn’t—these are all negative words. 

Negative words are simply the opposite of positive words (yes, is, can, do, always…).

Negative words, on their own, are not bad or evil; in fact, you can use negative words to help you say a lot of very positive and useful things, like “No swimming in the piranha tank.”, “Don’t forget to fight crime today.” and “Never surrender without a fight!”  Without negative words, we couldn’t say any of these things, and that would, very positively, be a shame.

Don’t let their ominous looking name mislead you. Negative words—like positive words—are only here to help our sentences communicate as clearly as possible.  So, don’t stop using negative words; just make sure that you use them in a positive way!
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Here's a peek at an early concept drawings for Double Negative.  This sketch turned into the inspiration for the final look of the troublesome twin brothers.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Pronoun

Nouns have a really big job to do in our sentences, and with so much to do, nouns can sometimes get overworked, overused, and overwhelmed.  But fear not, good citizens, for nouns have a powerful secret weapon on their side, and his name is—The Pronoun!
The Pronoun is the most professional, proactive, and proficient member of The Amazing Eight (A.K.A. parts of speech), and this awesome all-star hero is here to help regular nouns go pro! 

Pronouns are words, like—I, you, he, she, it, us, them—and pronouns have the power to take the place of regular nouns in a sentence.  Pronouns do this to help keep our sentences clean and efficient.  For example, instead of having to say, “Captain Muscle Pants is strong.” with pronouns, we can say, “He is strong.”  The pronoun, He, has the power to take the place of the long (proper) noun, Captain Muscle Pants, and because of the pronoun, our sentence is now short, efficient, and clean.

As you can see, pronouns are a very useful part of speech.  They reduce clutter by allowing us to simplify our bulky nouns, which in turn helps keep our sentences sleek and streamlined.  But aside from being very useful, pronouns are also very powerful. 

Pronouns have powers that allow them to easily do things that regular nouns can’t, such as: tell you their number (singular or plural), their person (1st person, 2nd person, or 3rd person), and their gender (male, female, or neutral).  Pronouns can also tell you their case (Subject form or Object form), and pronouns also have the power to show possession (ownership) without the use of an apostrophe.

The Pronoun is also a very versatile hero.  He has the power to create several different types of pronouns: personal, reflexive, demonstrative, possessive, interrogative, and indefinite.  Each type of pronoun has its own specialized abilities, and these specialized abilities help The Pronoun to empower different types of sentences in many different ways. 

Like I said before, nouns have a big job to do, and nouns will always fight for the good of your sentences, but if your nouns are ever in need of help, call in the all-star superhero with the power to help them go pro.  Call in—The Pronoun!

SUPER POWERS:
The Pronoun has the power to take the place of a noun in a sentence.  

The Pronoun also has several different powers which help him to create different types of pronouns. 

  • The Power of Personal Pronouns
  • The Power of Reflexive Pronouns
  • The Power of Demonstrative Pronouns
  • The Power of Possessive Pronouns
  • The Power of Interrogative Pronouns      
  • The Power of Indefinite Pronouns


1) THE POWER OF PERSONAL PRONOUNS:
The Pronoun has The Power of Personal Pronouns.  This power allows pronouns to represent specific people or things (nouns) in a sentence.  

For example, in the sentence, “I can bend steel.” The personal pronoun, I, represents a specific person (who is: singular, 1st person, and in the Subject form).

Personal pronouns also have the power to tell you their: number, person, case, and gender.

PERSONAL PRONOUNS:

Singular
Plural
Subject
Object
Subject
Object
1st Person
I
me
we

2nd Person
you
you
you
you
3rd Person
he
she
 it
him
her
it
they
them

SUPER EXAMPLES:

#1)
He can stretch like rubber.

He: (singular/3rd person/subject form/male)

#2)
You are a slippery character.

You: (singular/2nd person/subject form)

#3)
The monster has trapped them.

Them: (plural/3rd person/object form)



2) THE POWER OF REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS:
The Pronoun has The Power of Reflexive Pronouns.  This power allows a pronoun to refer back to the subject of the sentence.  

For example, in the sentence, “I will destroy you myself.” The reflexive pronoun, myself, lets us refer back to the subject of the sentence: I.  

Reflexive pronouns also have the power to tell you their: number, person, and gender, but since reflexive pronouns are a reflection of the subject of the sentence, they can only have one case: The Subject form.

REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS:

Singular
Plural
Subject
Object
Subject
Object
1st Person
myself

ourselves

2nd Person
yourself

yourselves

3rd Person
himself
herself
 itself

themselves


SUPER EXAMPLES:

#1)
It has regenerated itself.

itself: reflexive pronoun referring back to the subject, It

#2)
She shielded herself from the bullets.

herself: reflexive pronoun referring back to the subject, She

#3)
We must defend ourselves.

ourselves: reflexive pronoun referring back to the subject, We

NOTE: Reflexive pronouns are a reflection of the subject of the sentence.  This means that they must always be paired with a subject and that they should never be used as an independent (stand alone) element in a sentence.


3) THE POWER OF DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS:
The Pronoun has The Power of Demonstrative Pronouns.  This power allows pronouns to point (or refer to) a specific thing (noun).

For example, in the sentence, “This is stolen.” The demonstrative pronoun, This, lets us refer to the object (noun) that was stolen.

Demonstrative pronouns have the power to show you their: number and distance.

DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS:

Singular
Plural
Subject/Object
Subject/Object
Near
this
these
Far
that
Those

SUPER EXAMPLES:

#1)
This is my super suit.

This: (singular/near) demonstrative pronoun

#2)
That is against the law.

That: (singular/far) demonstrative pronoun

#3)
These look like explosives.

These: (plural/near) demonstrative pronoun

#4)
Those are gigantic robots.

Those: (plural/far) demonstrative pronoun



4) THE POWER OF POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS:
The Pronoun has The Power of Possessive Pronouns.  This power allows pronouns to show possession (ownership) without the use of an apostrophe.

For example, in the sentence, “The death ray is mine.” The possessive pronoun, mine, tells us that the death ray (noun) is owned.

Possessive pronouns have the power to show you their: number, person, and gender.

POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS:

Singular
Plural
Subject/Object
Subject/Object
1st Person
mine
our
2nd Person
yours
yours
3rd Person
his
her, hers
its
theirs

SUPER EXAMPLES:

#1)
The blue plasma blaster is yours.

yours: a pronoun showing possession (ownership)

#2)
The victory is hers.

hers: a pronoun showing possession (ownership)

#3)
Ours are the strongest of heroes.

Ours: a pronoun showing possession (ownership)



5) THE POWER OF INTERROGATIVE PRONOUNS:
The Pronoun has The Power of Interrogative Pronouns.  This power allows pronouns to ask a question.

For example, in the sentence, “What hit me?” The interrogative pronoun, What, lets us ask a question about something (noun) that just hit us.

Only two of the interrogative pronouns, who and whom, have the power to show you their case.  The rest do not.  Also, one of the interrogative pronouns, whose, also has the power to show possession (ownership).

INTERROGATIVE PRONOUNS:

Subject
Object
Refers to a Person
who
whom

Subject/Object
Refers to a Thing
what
Refers to a Person/Thing
which
Refers to a Person
(Possessive)
whose

SUPER EXAMPLES:

#1)
Who dares defy me?

Who: interrogative pronoun

#2)
Which is the imposter?

Which: interrogative pronoun

#3)
Whose plutonium-239 is this?

Whose: interrogative pronoun



6) THE POWER OF INDEFINITE PRONOUNS:
The Pronoun has The Power of Indefinite Pronouns.  This power allows pronouns to refer to a noun that is non-specific (not definite).

For example, in the sentence, “I’ll steal anything.” The indefinite pronoun, anything, lets us refer to an object (noun) that is not specific.

Indefinite pronouns have the power to show their number.

INDEFINITE PRONOUNS:
Singular
Plural
Singular/Plural
­anybody
anyone
anything
each
either
everybody
everyone
everything
neither
nobody
no one
nothing
one
somebody
someone
something
both
few
many
several
all
any
most
some

SUPER EXAMPLES:

#1)
Everyone is under my spell.

Everything: indefinite pronoun

#2)
Nothing can break my armor.

Nothing: indefinite pronoun

#3)
No one is above the law.

No one: indefinite pronoun


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This is an early treatment for The Pronoun.  He's so pro—he even had sponsors!