Monday, May 19, 2014

Grammar Review: Learning from Our Mistakes

Edutopia article: "Teaching Students to Embrace Mistakes"
"Mistakes are the most important thing that happens in any classroom, because they tell you where to focus that deliberate practice. 
So why don't students view their mistakes as a valuable asset? Well, students don't think about their mistakes rationally -- they think about them emotionally. Mistakes make students feel stupid. "Stupid" is just that: a feeling. Specifically, it's the feeling of shame, and our natural response is to avoid its source. If we say something embarrassing, we hide our face. If we get a bad grade, we hide the test away. Unsurprisingly, that's the worst move to make if you ever want to get better. Academic success does not come from how smart or motivated students are. It comes from how they feel about their mistakes."

If you struggled with grammar and punctuation test, please see these websites: 
Grammar Bytes pretest examples: 

Directions: Choose the option that corrects an error in the underlined portion(s). If no error exists, choose "No change is necessary."
1. Morgan explained to his roommate Richard that he needed to work overtime if he was going to have enough money to pay this month’s share of the rent.

A. Change Morgan to He.
B. Change his roommate Richard to him.
C. Change he to Richard.
D. No change is necessary.

This item tested your ability to find and fix an error in pronoun reference. 

In the locker room, each football player adjusted his gear as they waited for angry Coach Hayden to deliver his half-time criticism of the demoralizing game.
A. Change each football player to all of the football players.
B. Change his to their.
C. Change they to he.
D. No change is necessary.

This item tested your ability to find and fix an error in pronoun-antecedent agreement.

2. Savi hates spending 10 dollars for lunch in the cafeteria. Moreover, the food looks unappetizing and tastes bland. Because of this, Savi has begun driving to Tito's Taco Palace for a burrito to go

A. Change this to that.
B. Change this to it.
C. Change this to the poor cafeteria choices.
D. No change is necessary.
This item tested your ability to find and fix an error in pronoun reference.

3. Shaunice carefully completed her statistics homework and tore it out of her notebook. Then she remembered that Prof. Armour abhorred fuzzies. So Shaunice found scissors in the kitchen drawer and used it to trim the pages so that they all had four straight edges.

A. Change tore it to tore them.

B. Change used it to used them.

C. Change they to it.

D. No change is necessary.

This item tested your ability to find and fix an error in pronoun-antecedent agreement. 

From Oxford Dictionaries: Using commas to separate clauses

Commas are used to separate clauses in a complex sentence (i.e. a sentence which is made up of a main clause and one or more subordinate clauses).
The following examples show the use of commas in two complex sentences:
Having had lunch,
we went back to work.
[subordinate clause]
[main clause]
I first saw her in Paris,
where I lived in the early nineties.
[main clause]
[subordinate clause]

If the commas were removed, these sentences wouldn’t be as clear but the meaning would still be the same. There are different types of subordinate clause, though, and in some types the use of commas can be very important.
A subordinate clause beginning with ‘who’, ‘which’, ‘that’, ‘whom’, or ‘where’ is known as a relative clause. Take a look at this example:
who have young children
may board the aircraft first.
[relative clause]

This sentence contains what’s known as a ‘restrictive relative clause’. Basically, a restrictive relative clause contains information that’s essential to the meaning of the sentence as a whole. If you left it out, the sentence wouldn’t make much sense. If we removed the relative clause from the example above, then the whole point of that sentence would be lost and we’d be left with the rather puzzling statement:
Passengers may board the aircraft first.
You should not put commas round a restrictive relative clause.
The other type of subordinate clause beginning with ‘who’, ‘which’, ‘whom’, etc. is known as a ‘non-restrictive relative clause’. A non-restrictive relative clause contains information that is not essential to the overall meaning of a sentence. Take a look at the following example:
who has two young children,
has a part-time job in the library.
[relative clause]

If you remove this clause, the meaning of the sentence isn’t affected and it still makes perfect sense. All that’s happened is that we’ve lost a bit of extra information about Mary:
Mary has a part-time job in the library.
You need to put a comma both before and after a non-restrictive relative clause.
Extensive PowerPoint on Commas:

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