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English Grammar – The Use of Commas and Apostrophes

English grammar is easy once you know the rules. Below you will find some exercises to test your knowledge of the English written, and also spoken, language.

English grammar is easy once you know the rules. Below you will find some exercises to test your knowledge of the English written, and also spoken, language.

COMMAS

,‘ This is a comma. One of its uses is to mark a short pause inside a sentence.
Example:
Although he had more money than anyone else in the town, Uncle Albert was very mean.

Where several adjectives are used to describe one noun, they should be separated by commas.
Example:
The nasty, mean, spiteful boy threw a stone at the dog.

A) Write these phrases. Use commas where they are needed.

1) clear cool sparkling water
2) dull wet miserable winter days
3) dirty careless untidy work
4) the deep dark gloomy forest
5) a smart well-fitting suit
6) a wretched broken-down cottage

B) Write these sentences. Put in a comma to mark the pause in each sentence.

1) After a night of driving rain the morning dawned clear and bright.
2) In spite of delays on the line the Glasgow train left on time.
3) In a cave on the far side of the mountain there lived a wild boar.
4) From October until March the park gates are closed at four o’clock.
5) if you follow the main road you will see the castle on your left.

C) Write the words in the passage which should be followed by commas.

Out of the dismal grey-green swamp there came a huge lumbering monster. Its yellowish leather skin was smeared with thick oily mud. Pausing only to flick the insects from its tiny pig-like eyes it crashed into the dense undergrowth and disappeared.

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APOSTROPHES IN SHORT FORMS

An apostrophe is like a comma which sits above the line.
One of the uses of the apostrophe is to show where one or more letters have been missed out in short forms of words.
Examples:
he is -> he’s
I have -> I’ve

Short forms should only be used in personal letters or when writing words that have been spoken.

A) Write these sentences, giving the short forms in full.

1) He said, “The floodwaters are out and they’re higher than I’ve ever seen them.”
2) if you can’t come before Saturday, we’ll have to miss the fair.
3) I’m certain that there’s no way of telling who’s missing.
4) Mark said, “She’ll be very angry if he’s not back before dark.”

Here are some uses of apostrophes. Do you know the letters that a missing? Answers are below.

O’CLOCK
WON’T
SHAN’T
FO’C'S’LE

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ANSWERS: OF THE CLOCK / WILL NOT / SHALL NOT / FORECASTLE (front part of a ship)

See related articles:
English Grammar – putting together simple sentences

English Grammar – Sentences

English Grammar – Compound Sentences and Conjunctions

English Grammar – Negatives

English Grammar – Pronouns and Special Pronouns

English Grammar – English Grammar Test

English Grammar – Adjectives and Possessive Adjectives

English Grammar – Verb Tenses Part 1

English Grammar – Verb Tenses Part 2

English Grammar – Subject and Verb Agreement

English Grammar – Punctuation at the end of a sentence

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