About the ged writting exam 5

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  1. – USAGE – Likewise, be sure to avoid double negatives. When a Incorrect: I can’t hardly wait to see you. negative word such as no or not is added to a statement Correct: I can hardly wait to see you. that is already negative, a double negative—and poten- I can’t wait to see you. tial confusion—results. Hardly and barely are also nega- tive words. Remember, one negative is all you need. P repositional Idioms Incorrect: He doesn’t have no idea what she’s talking about. Another aspect of usage that may be covered on the GED Correct: He doesn’t have any idea what she’s is prepositional idioms: the specific word/preposition talking about. combinations that we use in the English language, such He has no idea what she’s talking as take care of and according to. The following is a list of about. some of the most common prepositional idioms. Review the list carefully to be sure you are using prepositional idioms correctly. according to concerned with in accordance with regard to afraid of congratulate on incapable of related to anxious about conscious of in conflict rely on/upon apologize to (someone) consist of inferior to respect for apologize for depend on/upon insist on/upon responsible for (something) approve of equal to in the habit of satisfied with ashamed of except for in the near future similar to aware of fond of interested in sorry for blame (someone) for from now on knowledge of suspicious of (something) bored with from time to time next to take care of capable of frown on/upon of the opinion thank (someone) for (something) compete with full of on top of tired of complain about glance at (something)/ opposite of with regard to glance through (some- thing, e.g., a book) composed of grateful to (someone) prior to concentrate on grateful for (something) proud of 60
  2. CHAPTER 8 Mechanics WHEN DO you need a comma? When should you use a dash or semicolon? How do you know when something should be capitalized? These questions and more will be answered in this chapter. You will review the basic rules of mechanics so that you can answer GED questions about spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. M refers to the rules that govern punctuation marks, capitalization, and spelling. Like the ECHANICS rules that govern usage, the rules that govern sentence mechanics help us keep our sentences and their meanings clear. Since the GED Writing Test was revised in 2002, the only spelling that is tested is homonyms, possessives, and con- tractions. Correct use of punctuation will be tested, but comma questions will generally be limited to instances where a comma is necessary to eliminate or prevent confusion. P unctuation Punctuation marks are the symbols used to separate sentences, express emotions, and show relationships between objects and ideas. Correct punctuation makes your meaning clear and adds drama and style to your sentences. Poor punctuation, on the other hand, can lead to a great deal of confusion for your readers and can send a message other than the one you intended. For example, take a look at the following two versions of the same sentence: Don’t bother Xavier. Don’t bother, Xavier. 61
  3. – MECHANICS – These sentences use the same words, but have two Punctuation helps create meaning, and it also has very different meanings because of punctuation. In the another important function: It enables writers to express first sentence, the comma indicates the speaker is telling a variety of tones and emotions. For example, take a look the reader not to bother Xavier. In the second sentence, at these two versions of the same sentence: the speaker is telling Xavier not to bother. Here’s another example of how punctuation can drastically Wait—I’m coming with you! affect meaning: Wait, I’m coming with you. You should eat Zak so you can think clearly dur- The first sentence clearly expresses more urgency and ing your interview. excitement, thanks to the dash and exclamation point. The second sentence, with its comma and period, does Because this sentence is missing some essential punc- not express emotion; the sentence is neutral. tuation, the sentence says something very different from what the author intended. The speaker isn’t telling the Punctuation Guidelines reader to eat Zak; rather, she’s telling Zak to eat. The sen- There are many rules for punctuation, and the better you tence should be revised as follows: know them, the more correctly and effectively you can punctuate your sentences. The following table lists the You should eat, Zak, so you can think clearly dur- main punctuation marks and guidelines for when to use ing your interview. them. YOUR PURPOSE: USE THIS PUNCTUATION: EXAMPLE: End a sentence period [.] Most sentences end in a period. Connect complete sentences semicolon [;] A semicolon can connect two (two independent clauses) sentences; it is an excellent way to show that two ideas are related. comma [,] and a conjunction Leslie is coming, but Huang is staying [and, or, nor, for, so, but, yet] home. dash [—] (less common, but Hurry up—we’re late! more dramatic) Connect items in a list comma [,] but if one or more His odd shopping list included items in that list already have a batteries, a box of envelopes, and a comma, use a semicolon [;] can of spam. The castaways included a professor, who was the group’s leader; an actress; and a millionaire and his wife. Introduce a list of three or colon [:] There are three things I want to do more items before I die: go on a cruise, go sky- diving, and surf. Colons have three functions: intro- ducing long lists, introducing quota- tions, and introducing explanations. 62
  4. – MECHANICS – Introduce an explanation colon [:] You know what they say about real (what follows “explains” or estate: Location is everything. “answers” what precedes) Introduce a quotation colon [:] or comma [,] She yelled, “Let’s get out of here!” (words directly spoken) He said only one word: “Shame.” Indicate a quotation quotation marks [“ ”] “To be or not to be?” is one of the most famous lines from Hamlet. Indicate a question question mark [?] What time is it? “How much longer?” he asked. Connect two words that work hyphen [-] mother-in-law, turn-of-the-century together as one object or modifier poet, French-fried potatoes Separate a word or phrase dash [—] I never lie—never. for emphasis We’re late—very late! Separate a word or phrase that commas [,] Elaine, my roommate, is from is relevant but not essential Chicago. information Her nickname as a child, her mother told me, was “Boo-boo.” Separate a word or phrase that parentheses [( )] There is an exception to every rule is relevant but secondary (including this one). information Show possession or contraction apostrophe [’] Why is Lisa’s wallet in Ben’s backpack? Comma Rules Let’s eat first, and then we will go to a movie. Many mechanics questions will deal with commas, the I’m definitely older, but I don’t think I’m most common punctuation mark within sentences. The much wiser. presence and placement of commas can dramatically affect meaning and can make the difference between I love him and he loves me. clarity and confusion. The previous chart lists four comma uses, but there are several others. The following 2. to set off introductory words, phrases, or clauses. is a complete list of comma rules. If you know them, then Next year, I will stick to my New Year’s you can be sure your sentences are clear. You will also resolutions. be able to tell whether a comma is needed to correct a sentence. Wow, that sure looks good! Use a comma: Because the game was cancelled, Jane took the kids bowling. 1. with a coordinating conjunction to separate two complete sentences. Note that a comma is not required if both parts of the sentence are 4 words or less. 63
  5. – MECHANICS – 3. to set off a direct address, interjection, or transi- Nonessential, set off by commas: tional phrase. Leeland, who at first refused to testify, later Well, Jeb, it looks like we will be stuck here for admitted to lying under oath. a while. 6. to separate items in a series. His hair color is a little, um, unusual. The price for the cruise includes breakfast, My heavens, this is spicy chili! lunch, dinner, and entertainment. Sea horses, for example, are unusual in that The recipe calls for fresh cilantro, chopped the males carry the embryos. onions, diced tomatoes, and lemon juice. 4. between two modifiers that and could replace. 7. to set off most quotations. As a general rule, short quotations are introduced by commas He is a mean, contemptible person. while long quotations (several sentences or (Both mean and contemptible modify more) are introduced by colons. All speech in person.) dialogue should be set off by commas. Incorrect: Denny’s old, stamp collection is “Let’s get going,” he said impatiently. priceless. Rene Descartes is famous for the words, “I Correct: Denny’s old stamp collection is think, therefore I am.” priceless. (You cannot put “and” between old and Joseph said, “Please forgive me for jumping to stamp; old describes stamp and stamp modi- conclusions.” fies collection. They do not modify the same 8. to set off parts of dates, numbers, titles, and noun.) addresses. 5. to set off information that is relevant but not She was born on April 30, 2002. essential (nonrestrictive). Please print 3,000 copies. Essential, not set off: Tiberio Mendola, MD, is my new doctor. The woman who wrote Happy Moon is com- ing to our local bookstore. Please deliver the package to me at 30 Willow (We need this information to know which Road, Trenton, NJ. woman we’re talking about.) 9. to prevent confusion, as in cases when a word is Nonessential, set off by commas: repeated. The dog, lost and confused, wandered into the What it is, is a big mistake. street. After I, comes J. (The fact that the dog was lost and confused is not essential to the sentence.) Essential, not set off: Witnesses who lie under oath will be prosecuted. 64
  6. – MECHANICS – C apitalization 2. Capitalize proper nouns. A proper noun is the name of a specific person, place, or thing (as opposed to a general person, place, or thing). See Capitalization is an important tool to help us identify (1) the table at the bottom of this page. the beginning of a new sentence and (2) proper nouns and adjectives. Here are six rules for correct capitalization: 3. Capitalize the days of the weeks and months of the year, but not the seasons. 1. Capitalize the first word of a sentence. It was a warm spring day in May. Please close the door. Wednesday is the first official day of autumn. What are you trying to say? 4. Capitalize the names of countries, nationalities, If you are quoting a full sentence within your geographical regions, languages, and religions. own sentence, use a capital letter, unless you He has traveled to Brazil and Tunisia. introduce the quote with that. She is half Chinese, half French. The author notes, “A shocking three out of four students admitted to cheating.” She is from the South. (But, Drive south for five miles.) The author notes that “a shocking three out of four students admitted to cheating.” We speak Spanish at home. If you have a full sentence within parentheses, He is a devout Catholic. that sentence should be capitalized as well (and the end punctuation mark should be within the parentheses). He was expelled for repeatedly violating the school’s code of conduct. (He was caught stealing and cheating several times.) CAPITALIZE (SPECIFIC) DON’T CAPITALIZE (GENERAL) Jennifer Johnson (specific person) the lady Algebra 101 (specific class) my math class Main Street (specific street) on the street Frosted Flakes (specific brand) good cereal Caspian Sea (specific sea) deep sea/ocean Lincoln Memorial (specific monument) impressive memorial/monument S.S. Cole (specific ship) naval carrier Dade High School (specific school) our high school Precambrian Age (specific time period) long ago Microsoft Corporation (specific company) that company 65



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