Tutoring Grammar

Of the numerous problems or handicaps that plague the Writing Center, most are related. Often students display multiple handicaps that are direct results of other grammatical problems. To combat these related problems, I would suggest two simple interactive techniques: a quick-reference guide applied with sentence generation exercises, and a well-known song supplied with informative lyrics that is used to produce practical text. These exercises must incorporate and utilize the information given in the pamphlet; they enable the student to participate actively in the learning process.

Goals: To provide effective support services in composition tutoring for college faculty, staff and students. These support services are designed to assist students in mastering all parts of the writing process such as style, grammar, and punctuation. This website is an attempt to provide tutorials in response to students' needs demonstrated in the college writing center.

Problem: Students, unfamiliar with the variety of grammatical terms, are unable to use associated rules because they cannot recognize the problems.

Solution: Interactive learning. Despite a student's memorization of the rules, application is impossible if the student does not learn how to incorporate the knowledge (memorization) into his/her writing. Worksheets and grammatical aids, in which students correct others' work, are not helpful because the knowledge does not transfer into the students' writing. Thus, generation must occur.

Supplement 1: Parts of Speech

*This supplement assumes that the student shall be able to recognize basic verbs and nouns.


Preposition- a word used to show the relation of a noun or pronoun to some other word in the sentence.

Example: The speaker on the program is my mother.

*A preposition appears at the beginning of a phrase. The noun or pronoun at the end of a prepositional phrase is the object of the preposition that begins that phrase.

Examples: before lunch at the game

Commonly Used Prepositions:

about, above, across, after, against, along, among, around, at, before, behind, below, beneath, between, beyond, but, by, during, for, from, in, into, up, on, over, through, to, towards, under, till, until, upon, with, within, without.


  1. A preposition is_______________________________.
  2. Identify three common prepositions:___________, ______________, and _____________.
  3. An example sentence using a preposition is______________________________________.


Adjective- a word used to modify a noun or pronoun.

*To modify means to limit, or to make the meaning of the word more definite. Adjectives may modify nouns or pronouns in any one of three different ways:

  1. By telling what kind: green apples, small car, capable student
  2. By telling which one: this woman, that play
  3. By telling how many: some birds, two squirrels

*The normal position of a modifier is directly before the noun it modifies.

Example: The hikers, hungry and tired, straggled into camp.


  1. An adjective is_______________________________.
  2. Three ways that adjectives modify nouns are ______________, _____________, and______________.
  3. Write a sentence using an adjective. Identify how it modifies the noun.


Adverb- a word used to modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.

*It may tell how, when, where, or to what extent the action of the verb is done.


  • She reads quickly. (Quickly tells how).
  • She reads everywhere. (Everywhere tells where).
    *An adverb may modify an adjective.
  • She is really an intense competitor. (Really modifies the adjective intense.)
    *An adverb may modify another adverb.
  • She skated very well. (The adverb very modifies the adverb well.)


  1. An adverb is _________________________________.
  2. An adverb may tell __________, ____________, __________, or ________________.
  3. Write a sentence using an adverb. Identify how it modifies the verb.
  4. Write a sentence using an adverb and an adjective. Identify each.


Conjunction- a word that joins word or a group of words.

Example: The bear turned and lunged at the camper.

Three types:

  1. Coordinating:  and, or, nor, but, for, yet
  2. Correlative:  either...or, neither...nor, both...and, etc...
  3. Subordinating:  after, although, if, as, unless, while, that, since


  1. A conjunction is__________________________________.
  2. Three types of conjunctions are ________________, ______________, and ___________.
  3. Write a simple sentence. Write a relating simple sentence. Join them with a conjunction.


Interjection- a word that expresses emotion and has no relation to other words in the sentence.

Examples: Oh! My goodness! Ah! Ouch!


  1. 1. An interjection is___________________________________.
  2. 2. Write a sentence using an interjection. Write a related simple sentence. Join them with a conjunction.


Pronoun- a word used in place of a noun or of more than one noun.

Example: The commuters complained to the mayor aboput the fare increase. They said that he had not warned them about it.


  • Personal:  I, me, he, him, you, she, her, it, we, us, they, them
  • Reflexive:  myself, yourself, himself, ourselves, themselves
  • Relative:  who, whom, which, that, whose


  1. A pronoun is___________________________________.
  2. Three types of pronouns are _______________, ______________, and_____________.
  3. Write a sentence using a subject. Write another sentence substituting a pronoun for the subject and all appropriate nouns.

Textual Generation Exercise:

Write two simple sentences using 1 adjective, 1 adverb, and 2 pronouns.

Join them with a conjunction.

Example: He said my red cheeks were very rosy.

*Practice this same exercise using:

  1. A correlative conjunction, 1 preposition, and 1 adverb.
  2. An interjection, 1 preposition, and 1 adjective.

Supplement 2

A prepositional song set to the tune of Yankee Doodle:

above, across, after, against, along, among, around, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, beyond, by, during, for, from, in, into, up, on, over, through, to, towards, under, till, until, upon, with, within, without.

Textual Generation Exercise:

*After learning the song, write a paragraph describing_________________.

Suggested topics:

  1. a favorite vacation
  2. a good friendship/ your family
  3. a career choice/ goal
  4. a favorite sport

*Be sure to utilize 15 prepositions that you learned from the above song in your composition.

Created by Megan Johnston