Here's a wonderful free resource for the middle school and high school years.
Capella University offers their entire English Grammar Handbook online for free.
The 76-page PDF guide includes:
- Sentence Basics
- Sentence Structure
- Paragraph Structure
- Word Choice
Sentence basics includes information on topics such as parts of speech. Not only does it cover simple topics such as proper nouns, but also trickier grammar such as when to use "your" and "you're" and the proper way to use reflexive pronouns.
This section also goes into how to use grammar for the best writing. For instance, the guide recommends that writers "show, don't tell" when writing, using word choice to help readers "see" and "feel" what they are writing about.
Sentence structure goes into the building blocks of sentences such as phrases and dependent clauses, and types of sentences. This chapter also explains concepts such as run-on sentences and subordinating conjunctions.
Paragraph structure talks about the elements of a paragraph and the elements of a paper (introduction, body, conclusion). This chapter goes into detail about how to construct a paper, with explanations about concepts such as supporting details, focus, development, unity and organization.
Word choice addresses words that are commonly confused (such as advice and advise, effect and affect), the proper use of verb tense, pronoun choices (when to use who, whom and that), dangling and misplaced modifiers, and so on. This section also deals with topics such as wordiness, outlines, slang and sexist language.
Punctuation covers common punctuation marks and how to use them properly.
Mechanics covers topics such as spelling, plurals, capitalization, italics, abbreviations and numbers.
References and a bibliography follow each chapter.
Not only does the handbook explain how to write correctly, but it also helps explain how to write well. The handbook is filled with information such as how to edit and how to construct the best sentences.
This is an excellent handbook of the basics of grammar, full of examples of both correct and incorrect grammar. The guide goes into quite a lot of explanation about some confusing aspects of grammar and some of the more advanced concepts. On the other hand, it is simple and brief enough that it won't overwhelm readers.
This is a great guide that could easily be used towards high school English credit in grammar, as well.
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