Do you know the difference between a subject and a predicate or between a compound sentence and a simple one? How about the differences between capital and capitol, color and colour, action verbs and passive verbs? Do your subjects and verbs agree?
Learning how to diagram a sentence will not teach you to be a great story writer, any more than learning to read music will guarantee you fame and fortune as a lead singer. However, understanding grammar will show you how English language works, which is certainly handy for every writer.
Knowing how a sentence is supposed to be put together will also keep you from making the kind of annoying mistakes that mean the difference between an A and B on English papers. Even the most interesting ideas will be marked down if the grammar is poor. True, spellcheckers and grammar tools will catch -some- problems on formal papers, but many times essays have to be handwritten on the spot.
So, learn the rules of the grammar road and put your best work forward. A solid grounding in grammar now will make a huge difference in how your written work is accepted, both in school and later in your career.
These books and Web sites make learning grammar fun for elementary and middle school students. We've also included the classic video, Grammar Rock, which teaches some grammar facts with songs and cartoons. Any of these materials may be reserved and checked out by our library card holders.
In the Library
Checking Your Grammar by Marvin Terban.
A practical guide to grammar and usage, covering such topics as parts of speech, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and idioms.
A Child's Garden of Grammar by Tom Disch.
A collection of poems exploring the world of grammar, covering such topics as nouns, verbs, homophones, and contractions.
Catchy rock songs and cartoons teach grammar:
Unpack Your Adjectives -- Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here -- Conjunction Junction -- Interjections! -- Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla -- Verb: That's What's Happening -- A Noun is a Person, Place, or Thing -- Busy Prepositions -- The Tale of Mr. Morton.
The Kid's Guide to Good Grammar: What You Need to Know About Punctuation, Sentence Structure, Spelling, and More by Dorothy McKerns and Leslie Motchkavitz.
A guide to grammar rules for grades 3 to 7. Also features lists of compound and hyphenated words, silent letter words, pattern words, 240 common spelling words, homographs and homonyms, and portions of classic children's stories to show the connection between grammar and literature.
Kids Write Right! What You Need to Be a Writing Powerhouse by Jan Venolia.
A guide to grammar, punctuation, spelling, and style for kids, complete with cartoons. Also has a good section on organizing a composition or paper.
Writing with Style by Sue Young.
Tips for writing interesting stories, passionate essays, and exciting reports, focusing on the elements of sentence structure, paragraph organization, grammar, usage, punctuation, and footnotes.
On the Web
The Plural Girls
"Twin sisters Pearl and Flora lost their friends in the bubble machine. Help them get their friends out by choosing the correct plural form of the given word."
An interactive lesson in making one's writing more interesting from the BBC.
In this online board game, players help the fox cross the park by answering correctly which kind of sentence is shown.
Build snowmen while learning the difference between main verbs, helping verbs, and contractions with not.
Wacky Web Tales
Fill in the blanks with names, nouns, adjectives, and verbs to create nutty stories, holiday sing-alongs, and more. Geared for grades 3 and up.