Timothy L Pagaard: Mechanics

Cuyamaca College logo

About me My courses Resources Sign in English department Cuyamaca College

MLA conventions,
writing evaluations,
and college services

Sample student writing


"Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best."

--Frank Zappa

Grammar, Punctuation, and Usage

go to Links | Other resources

Essential lessons

The following are brief lessons I have developed in areas of grammar and usage which I have found to give my students the most trouble. These lessons are not comprehensive, but they are a good place to begin. Join Bob Marley and the Wailers, your guides on a rock-'em, sock-'em, sometimes even poignant quest for editing mastery.

You will find more information on these topics in the links below or in your favorite writing handbook. I recommend Keys for Writers by Ann Raimes. In our Writing Center and Writing Labs you also may use a variety of good grammar software applications to hone your editing skills. Ask the writing tutors or lab aides for assistance.

Sentence boundaries
College writing should be free of sentence boundary errors--that is, fragment sentences, fused sentences (sometimes called "run-ons"), and comma splices. Find out here how to avoid them.

Agreement: pronoun/antecedent and subject/verb

Twelve essential comma rules
Definite rules govern the placement of commas. Here are a dozen which should take care of just about all of your needs.

Some usage issues

Apostrophe rules


go to Top | Essential lessons | Other resources


On-line Writing Lab (OWL), Purdue University
You will never find a more useful site than this one, with everything from advice on mechanics and rhetoric to exercises for improving your skills to advice on conducting research. It also provides links to other useful sites. Whatever you are looking for you will find here... and much, much, more. I still can't believe it's free.

English Grammar Resources, on-line English degree
This is an extensive index of guides and other information to help you master grammar usage.

The Elements of Style, William Strunk and E.B. White
This is an on-line version of the most popular writing, grammar, and usage manual in history. I recommend that you start here as you work to perfect your editing skills. Excellent examples help you to understand each concept.

On-line English Grammar, Anthony Hughes
Find answers to your questions about grammar and usage in a Web-site organized conveniently by topic.

The English Department, Barbara Dieu, Lycee Pasteur, Sao Paulo, Brazil
In Ms Dieu's words, this site provides links to "lots of interesting and fun sites for you to surf through and practice your English."

go to Top | Essential lessons | Links

Other useful resources

Dr Grammar: "Your Rx for writing ills"
Clickinks: Printable English Grammar and Writing Help
Dave's ESL Cafe
Roget's Thesaurus, University of Chicago
Miriam-Webster Online dictionary
Cambridge Dictionaries Online
Online Etymology Dictionary
Writers' Web, University of Richmond
Your Dictionary.com: dictionary, language dictionaries, thesaurus


The religious don't understand that humor is God's best creation.
Copyright Wiley Miller 2002. All rights reserved.


Get free software upgrades:

For viewing pages in this site




Made with a Mac Revised 24 January, 2015 • Copyright Timothy L Pagaard