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Ch 6: CBEST Writing: Conventions of English

About This Chapter

Let us show you how to improve your skills in the conventions of standard written English. The video lessons and self-assessment quizzes in this chapter provide several approaches to help you succeed on the writing portion of the California Basic Educational Skills Test.

CBEST Writing: Conventions of English Chapter Summary

Completing our chapter of video lessons on the conventions of standard written English can help prepare you for the essay portion of the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST). These lessons, which are geared toward teaching you to write with clarity, include instruction in basic punctuation usage and parts of speech. You'll also learn how to proofread an essay for spelling and grammar errors, like misplaced and dangling modifiers, sentence fragments, comma splices and run-on sentences. Among the numerous topics covered in this chapter are the following:

  • Comma usage
  • Colons, semicolons and periods
  • Independent and dependent clauses
  • Singular, plural, possessive and collective nouns
  • Pronouns and personal pronouns
  • Verb forms
  • Antecedents and predicates
  • Adjectives and adverbs
  • Active and passive voice
  • Subject-verb agreement

Objectives of the CBEST Writing: Conventions of English Chapter

To qualify as a public school teacher in California or Oregon, you must pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test, in addition to meeting other credentialing requirements. This 3-part test assesses basic proficiency in reading, mathematics and writing. To complete the writing portion of the CBEST, you must answer one essay question that asks you to analyze a specified situation or statement and write a second essay on a specific personal experience.

We offer a number of lessons that can prepare you to write essays that use proper conventions of English. Each offering includes a video presentation and a self-assessment test that can help you gauge where you stand in terms of your knowledge of punctuation and grammar.

30 Lessons in Chapter 6: CBEST Writing: Conventions of English
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
How to Proofread an Essay for Spelling and Grammar

1. How to Proofread an Essay for Spelling and Grammar

Proofreading is the last step in revising an essay - don't skip it! A single typo can sometimes ruin the hard work of an entire paper. This lesson will help you find the right proofreading strategy for you.

Commas: Correct Usage & Basic Rules

2. Commas: Correct Usage & Basic Rules

Think that you know commas? You may be surprised. Even the most experienced writers have problems remembering all the rules. Learn the basics of comma usage in this first of two lessons on the comma.

Comma Usage: Avoid Confusion in Clauses & Contrasting Sentence Parts

3. Comma Usage: Avoid Confusion in Clauses & Contrasting Sentence Parts

Learn more about comma usage from the pros! There are just too many ways to use the comma (it's a basic punctuation mark, after all) to fit in one sentence. Watch here to learn about some of the more common traps students fall into when trying to put commas in the right place.

Punctuation: Using Colons, Semicolons & Periods

4. Punctuation: Using Colons, Semicolons & Periods

Periods, colons, and semicolons all have the ability to stop a sentence in its tracks, but for very different purposes. In this lesson, learn how and why we use them in our writing.

Independent & Dependent Clauses: Subordination & Coordination

5. Independent & Dependent Clauses: Subordination & Coordination

This lesson is about independent and dependent clauses, and how they make up a sentence. Dependent clauses, like the name suggests, rely on other elements in a sentence. Independent clauses, on the other hand, can stand alone. Learn more in this lesson.

How to Identify the Subject of a Sentence

6. How to Identify the Subject of a Sentence

Don't pass over this lesson! You may think you know how to find subjects and verbs in a sentence, but picking them out can be harder than you think. Identifying subjects and verbs is the first step to unlocking nearly everything else about English composition.

What Are Nouns? - Definition, Types & Examples

7. What Are Nouns? - Definition, Types & Examples

A noun is a part of speech that identifies a person, place, thing, or idea. In this lesson, in addition to learning how to identify nouns, you'll learn the difference between proper and common nouns and a bit about how nouns function in sentences.

Singular & Plural Nouns: Definitions, Rules & Examples

8. Singular & Plural Nouns: Definitions, Rules & Examples

This video takes a look at how singular nouns are turned into plural nouns. Check it out to learn about regular and irregular plurals as well as important definitions, rules, and exceptions.

What Are Possessive Nouns? - Examples, Definition & Types

9. What Are Possessive Nouns? - Examples, Definition & Types

This video explains what you need to know to use apostrophes to make singular and plural nouns possessive. You'll also learn how to avoid mixing up your plurals and possessives.

What Are Collective Nouns?

10. What Are Collective Nouns?

In this lesson, you'll find out what collective nouns are as well as how to ensure that you're using the right verbs and pronouns in sentences that contain them.

Using Nouns as the Subject of a Sentence: Grammar Rules & Examples

11. Using Nouns as the Subject of a Sentence: Grammar Rules & Examples

A subject is an essential part of a sentence. This video explains the role that subjects play in sentences, how nouns work as subjects and the various types of subjects.

What Are Pronouns? - Types, Examples & Definition

12. What Are Pronouns? - Types, Examples & Definition

In this lesson, we'll learn about pronouns in general, and take a look at two types of personal pronouns: subjective case and objective case pronouns. Knowing which case of pronoun you'll need can help you avoid common pronoun errors.

Pronouns: Relative, Reflexive, Interrogative & Possessive

13. Pronouns: Relative, Reflexive, Interrogative & Possessive

In this lesson, we'll look at relative, reflexive, interrogative and possessive pronouns. We'll do this by antagonizing our friend Gary with the whos, whats, whoms, and whichevers that make up these pronouns.

What Are Personal Pronouns?

14. What Are Personal Pronouns?

Pronouns are great for making sure debaters don't have to keep repeating the other guy's name over and over again, but they have many other uses too! In fact, pronouns, you could say, make reading readable. In part one, we'll cover personal pronouns and how they're used before moving on to more esoteric varieties.

Possessive Pronouns & Contractions: Definition & Examples

15. Possessive Pronouns & Contractions: Definition & Examples

In writing, many people get possessive pronouns and contractions confused. In this lesson, we'll discuss the differences between the two, as well as how to use apostrophes in order to form contractions.

Personal Pronouns and Antecedents: Number Agreement

16. Personal Pronouns and Antecedents: Number Agreement

In this lesson, you'll learn how to avoid one of the most common grammatical mistakes in writing by learning how to ensure that all of the antecedents in your writing agree in number with the pronouns that they're matched up with.

Indefinite and Definite Articles: Definition and Examples

17. Indefinite and Definite Articles: Definition and Examples

Watch this video lesson on indefinite and definite articles. Find out when you should use which type of article and when you shouldn't use any article at all.

Verb Forms: Participles & Infinitives

18. Verb Forms: Participles & Infinitives

Using verbs correctly involves knowing more than just how to express action in a sentence. This lesson will show you a few special types of verb forms - infinitives, present participles, and past participles - as well as how to use them.

What Are Misplaced Modifiers and Dangling Modifiers?

19. What Are Misplaced Modifiers and Dangling Modifiers?

I have this recurring nightmare where all my modifiers are misplaced or dangling and everybody's laughing at me. Don't let this happen to you! Learn why modifiers are important and why putting them in the right place is even more so.

Action, Linking and Auxiliary Verbs: Definitions, Functions & Examples

20. Action, Linking and Auxiliary Verbs: Definitions, Functions & Examples

Do you think that a verb is just a verb? Check out this lesson to learn about the differences among action verbs, linking verbs, and auxiliary/helping verbs.

What is an Antecedent? - Definition, Meaning & Examples

21. What is an Antecedent? - Definition, Meaning & Examples

If you have a pronoun in a sentence, you'll also need to have an antecedent. In this lesson, find out what an antecedent is as well as some of the basic rules for avoiding vague pronoun references and for making sure that you have pronoun-antecedent agreement.

Comparison of Adjectives & Adverbs: Examples, Sentences & Exercises

22. Comparison of Adjectives & Adverbs: Examples, Sentences & Exercises

Adjectives and adverbs are descriptive words that allow our sentences to be much more specific and interesting than they would be without them. This lesson covers the rules for using adjectives and adverbs correctly, including those used in comparisons.

Compound Antecedents: Definition & Examples

23. Compound Antecedents: Definition & Examples

You may know already that an antecedent and its pronoun must agree in number. In this lesson, you'll learn about compound antecedents and the various rules involving how they can be made to agree with pronouns.

What are Predicates? - Definition and Examples

24. What are Predicates? - Definition and Examples

A predicate is a necessary component of each sentence, so it's important to know what one is and how to identify one. This lesson goes over the basics of predicates as well as how knowing about them can help answer other grammatical questions.

Parallelism: How to Write and Identify Parallel Sentences

25. Parallelism: How to Write and Identify Parallel Sentences

Sentences that aren't parallel sound funny, even if they look perfectly correct at first glance. Learn what makes a sentence parallel, how to revise a sentence to make it parallel, and how to write beautiful, balanced sentences of your own.

Active and Passive Voice

26. Active and Passive Voice

You may have heard your teachers toss around the terms 'passive voice' and 'active voice'. But if you've never really understood what it means to write actively or passively, stick with us -- and learn how to turn to awkward passive sentences into bright, active ones.

Subject-Verb Agreement: Using Uncommon Singular and Plural Nouns and Pronouns

27. Subject-Verb Agreement: Using Uncommon Singular and Plural Nouns and Pronouns

Subject-verb agreement is a tricky beast. Learn which uncommon singular and plural nouns and pronouns are most likely to trip you up when trying to craft essays with good grammar.

Sentence Agreement: Avoiding Faulty Collective Ownership

28. Sentence Agreement: Avoiding Faulty Collective Ownership

A common error occurs whenever a writer uses wording that suggests that a lot of people own or use just one thing, when really they all own or use their own separate things. This video will explain how to identify and fix this type of error.

Verb Tense & Subject-Verb Agreement

29. Verb Tense & Subject-Verb Agreement

Learn all about verb tense and subject-verb agreement in our first lesson on this tricky topic. We'll look at examples to help you understand this concept.

Sentence Fragments, Comma Splices and Run-on Sentences

30. Sentence Fragments, Comma Splices and Run-on Sentences

Sentence fragments, comma splices, and run-on sentences are grammatical and stylistic bugs that can seriously derail an otherwise polished academic paper. Learn how to identify and eliminate these errors in your own writing here.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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