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Ch 11: Conventions of Standard American English

About This Chapter

Let us help you refresh your knowledge of spelling and punctuation in Standard American English. You'll also see how to avoid errors of subject-verb agreement and faulty collective ownership.

Conventions of Standard American English - Chapter Summary

Have fun reviewing fundamental principles of Standard American English, including rules for spelling and capitalization. Get information on proper use of various forms of punctuation through our lively video lessons, and learn more about verb tense and avoiding subject-verb disagreement.

Our instructors will examine how to set the tone of an essay with language and ways to structure sentences in an essay. When you've watched all these lessons, you should have a good idea about topics including:

  • Strategies to ensure correct spelling
  • Homonyms and homophones
  • Colons, semicolons and periods
  • Question marks
  • Setting the tone of an essay through proper word choice
  • Ways to identify verb tense errors
  • Subject-verb agreement
  • How to avoid faulty collective ownership in sentences

You can review these videos on a computer, smartphone or tablet. They average about five minutes in length and are followed by short quizzes that let you evaluate your knowledge. The quiz questions can be printed out so you can continue your study offline. Our Dashboard lets you keep up with your study progress and includes an ask-an-expert message board that lets you contact the instructor if you have questions.

13 Lessons in Chapter 11: Conventions of Standard American English
Correct Spelling in Written Work: Strategies & Tips

1. Correct Spelling in Written Work: Strategies & Tips

In this lesson, we will discuss why it is important to have correct spelling in your writing. We will then discuss some tips to be sure you are using correct spelling.

Spelling: Words That Sound Alike (Homonyms & Homophones)

2. Spelling: Words That Sound Alike (Homonyms & Homophones)

Watch this lesson to learn to differentiate between words that sound alike but may be spelled differently. We'll specifically look at homonyms, homographs, and homophones.

Capitalization Rules in Writing

3. Capitalization Rules in Writing

Capitalization is a very important concept in standard grammar in the written form of the English language. Watch this video lesson to learn what capitalization is and when to use it.

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.

The Use of Punctuation in Dramatic Dialogue

5. The Use of Punctuation in Dramatic Dialogue

Playwrights use punctuation to tell their actors how to deliver their lines. In this lesson, you'll learn about three types of punctuation and the effects they have when used in dramatic dialogue.

Using Hyphens, Brackets, Ellipses & Quotation Marks

6. Using Hyphens, Brackets, Ellipses & Quotation Marks

Writing not only consists of letters and words but many forms of punctuation. Watch this video lesson to learn about four types of punctuation: hyphens, brackets, ellipses, and quotation marks.

Question Mark: Definition & Use

7. Question Mark: Definition & Use

A question mark (?) is a form of punctuation placed at the end of a sentence. Its main purpose is to specify a query or question. In this lesson, we will take a look at when you should and should not use a question mark in your writing.

Exclamation Mark: Use & Meaning

8. Exclamation Mark: Use & Meaning

The exclamation mark (!), also called the exclamation point, is a form of punctuation that is sometimes used at the end of a single word, phrase or complete sentence. Its goal is to express an extremely strong and intense statement.

How Word Choice and Language Sets the Tone of Your Essay

9. How Word Choice and Language Sets the Tone of Your Essay

In this video, we will discuss how word choice sets the tone for your essay. This includes letting the reader know if you are angry, happy or even attempting to refrain from bias. These tools bring your 'voice' into your writing.

How to Structure Sentences in an Essay

10. How to Structure Sentences in an Essay

Sometimes we know what we want to write, but we are just unsure of the best way to write it. In this video, we will cover ways to structure sentences in an essay.

Identifying Errors of Verb Tense

11. Identifying Errors of Verb Tense

In order to identify verb tense errors, you'll need to learn about the six verb tenses and how they differ. Once you know how to look for them, problematic shifts in verb tenses can be spotted and avoided easily.

Verb Tense & Subject-Verb Agreement

12. 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 Agreement: Avoiding Faulty Collective Ownership

13. 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.

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