Sentence Grammar & Punctuation with Dr. Glen Thomas
This lecture covers ungrammatical expression, correct instances, articulating of reasons, placing in
context the rules which aren’t really rules, and understand the fundamentals of problematic
Consider the infamous opening of Twilight: “My mother drove me to the airport with the windows
Most of the time, people will get most grammar correct by ear. For example, consider the phrase
“Me shop go now”. We know this isn’t right, even without the vocabulary to say why. Here, we’ll
cover a few of the more confusing grammar rules.
1: Subjects must agree in person and number. A singular subject should be accompanied by a
singular verb. For example, the phrase my dog (Singular subject) loves dog biscuits (Singular verb). If
the sentence was “my dogs love dog biscuits” is a plural subject with a plural verb. However, the
words “Each, either, neither, one’ and ‘None’ take singular verbs. An example is the phrase “Either
one of the options is feasible” where either differentiates, none = not one and each differentiates.
These words are called indefinite pronouns. Some indefinite pronouns take plural forms (Eg, both,
few, many several).
2. A subject and verb must agree, even when separated across a sentence. Consider the sentence
“The Vice-Chancellor, who has occupied his position for more than twenty years, knows best how to
run the university”. Note the phrase “A Division of tanks has left Australia”. This word “has” is an
instance of a collective noun. Collective nouns can be either singular or plural, but it depends on the
context. In the given example, only one division has left. Where the collective noun is acting as one
group, the result is singular, but if the collective acts as individuals, then the result is plural. An
organization or country should be singular I.e. Russia is very cold, or UQP has supported many
Australian authors. A number is plural, but the number is singular
3: Use the correct pronoun. Remember that the pronoun stands in the place of a noun. There are
three pronoun cases: Nominative (Aka the subjective) (the subjective), the objective (The object) or
the possessive, which shows ownership. Sometimes the nominative and the objective get confused
especially in case of compound constructions. Use the objective case in compound objects, and the
nominative case in compound subjects. While the sentence “The university gave her and me extra
tuition” may sound wrong, all doubt could be removed by taking out one of the nouns or pronouns.
Use the objective case after a verb or a preposition. Sometimes people are told not to use the word
“Me” in a sentence, but this is completely silly. The other problem is that some people sounds more
formal (hyper-correction) but this is untrue. Use the ‘Self’ pronouns when the subject and the object
are the same.