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Susan Athena
Susan Athena, Professional w/Adv. Degree
Category: Homework
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Experience:  10+ yrs teaching & tutoring. AP essay grader. 2 masters degrees. English, IT, business.
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Is there an english teacher for grammar available?

Resolved Question:

Is there an english teacher for grammar available?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Homework
Expert:  Susan Athena replied 4 years ago.
Hi. Yes, I'm an expert in English grammar. Please post your question and I'll see if I can help.

Kind regards,
Susan
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX hoping you could help me verify I am not making a gramatical mistake with my text. I still get confused about when to use semi colans, verses commas, and even colans. Here is some of the text.

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Angry Thomas has freckles, and when in his room he would blink his eyes as fast as he could to make himself dizzy. He would also sit on his dark bedspread, and stare at the ceiling wondering how any room could be so ugly. Sometimes, he would pinch his pillow as hard as he could and try and make it squeal.

----

Angry Thomas has few friends. He met kids easily, but did not like many people. Thomas has thick hair, and it was common for other kids to want to touch it, and rub their fingers through it. Inevitable though, Thomas would tire of these new kids and play jokes on them; like when he put pill bugs in his only friend Joe’s hat. Sometimes, when the other kids were waiting for the school bus, he would simple hide behind a tree and yell, “ here comes the bus!” The bus was nowhere in sight, but they would all turn and look.

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Angry Thomas often thought things smelled bad. He thought bad things smelled bad, and he thought good things smelled bad. He even hated the smell of flowers and grass; and especially the smell of baking cookies. Sometimes, he would turn off the oven when his mom was baking; just to stop the smell.

-----

Angry Thomas usually wore one of three shirts; all were brown and very wrinkled. Brown was his favorite color. If he saw an especially bright colored shirt, he would grimace his face, distorting it like mashed potatoes. Sometimes, his mom made him wear a red shirt that he got for his birthday, and he always got a stomach ache later.

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Angry Thomas loved to hide things. He would hide his sister’s brush, or a classmate’s pencil. He once hid his father’s car keys, and watched him look everywhere for them; even in the trash. Sometimes, he would hide his friend Joe’s toy car, and then later pretend he found it for him.

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Expert:  Susan Athena replied 4 years ago.
Hi. Thanks for your question. So, do you want all the sentences corrected for punctuation? I see a few errors here.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes please, if that is ok? But also with an explanation, so I can better understand what I am doing wrong. Thanks!
Expert:  Susan Athena replied 4 years ago.
Sure. Here are the changes I'd make. I also noted two words that are used incorrectly.

Kind regards,
Susan




Angry Thomas has freckles, and when in his room he would blink his eyes as fast as he could to make himself dizzy. He would also sit on his dark bedspread, and stare at the ceiling wondering how any room could be so ugly. Sometimes, he would pinch his pillow as hard as he could and try and make it squeal.

Remove comma after "bedspread" (no comma needed between two parts of a compound verb phrase unless needed for clarity)

----

Angry Thomas has few friends. He met kids easily, but did not like many people. Thomas has thick hair, and it was common for other kids to want to touch it, and rub their fingers through it. Inevitable though, Thomas would tire of these new kids and play jokes on them; like when he put pill bugs in his only friend Joe’s hat. Sometimes, when the other kids were waiting for the school bus, he would simple hide behind a tree and yell, “ here comes the bus!” The bus was nowhere in sight, but they would all turn and look.

Remove comma after "easily" (compound verb phrase rule)
Remove comma after "touch it" (compound verb phrase rule)
Change Inevitable to Inevitably
Change semicolon after "jokes on them" to a comma (comma is used to separate a man clause from a dependent clause. Semicolons separate complete sentences)
Remove comma after Sometimes (no comma needed after adverbial time expression unless needed for clarity)
Change "simple" to "simply"
Capitalize "Here" in "Here comes the bus!"

------

Angry Thomas often thought things smelled bad. He thought bad things smelled bad, and he thought good things smelled bad. He even hated the smell of flowers and grass; and especially the smell of baking cookies. Sometimes, he would turn off the oven when his mom was baking; just to stop the smell.

Remove comma after "bad things smelled bad" (no comma needed between two halves of a compound sentence, unless needed for clarity)
Change semicolon after "grass" to a comma (this is two halves of a compound noun phrase. A comma isn't technically needed, but can be used for clarity. A semi-colon is wrong because it doesn't separate two halves of the same sentence)
Change semicolon after "baking" to a comma (can't use a semicolon to separate a dependent clause from an independent clause)

-----

Angry Thomas usually wore one of three shirts; all were brown and very wrinkled. Brown was his favorite color. If he saw an especially bright colored shirt, he would grimace his face, distorting it like mashed potatoes. Sometimes, his mom made him wear a red shirt that he got for his birthday, and he always got a stomach ache later.

Remove comma after "Sometimes" (time expression)

-----

Angry Thomas loved to hide things. He would hide his sister’s brush, or a classmate’s pencil. He once hid his father’s car keys, and watched him look everywhere for them; even in the trash. Sometimes, he would hide his friend Joe’s toy car, and then later pretend he found it for him.

Remove comma after "brush" (two halves of compound noun phrase)
Remove comma after "car keys" (two halves of compound verb phrase)
Change semicolon after "everywhere for them" to a comma (can't use a semicolon to separate dependent phrase from an independent clause)
Remove comma after "toy car" (don't need a comma between two halves of a compound verb phraw. I don't think it's needed for clarity here.)







Customer: replied 4 years ago.
thanks so much. Can you talk about a compound noun phrase and what that means? I seem to make that error often.
Expert:  Susan Athena replied 4 years ago.
He would hide his sister’s brush, or a classmate’s pencil

In this sentence, Thomas is hiding two things: a brush and a pencil. We call it a compound noun phrase because there are two equivalent things.

Since there are only two, we don't need a comma.

If there were three, it'd turn into a list, and then we'd have to use commas like this:

He'd hide his sister's brush, his classmate's pencil or his dad's car keys.

(you can optionally put a comma after pencil: some people use it and others don't)

The same kind of rule applies with compound verb phrases:

... it was common for other kids to want to touch it, and rub their fingers through it.

The two verbs showing what other kids wanted are "touch" and "rub". Again, it's a list of only two things that are equivalent, so there's no need for a comma here.

Kind regards,
Susan

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
At the end of each block of text I use the word "sometimes" and then a comma. I like this formatting. Can I keep the comma and still be acceptable?
Expert:  Susan Athena replied 4 years ago.
I think it's much better without. If you want to keep it, rewrite the sentences like this:

Sometimes, when his mom was baking cookies, he'd turn off the oven just to stop the smell.
Sometimes, when his mom made him wear a bright red shirt, he'd even get a stomachache.
Sometimes, when his friend Joe wasn't looking, he'd hide his toy car and then pretend he found it.

That's a little better. But where you've got it right in front of the main clause of the sentence, the comma is really incorrect.

Kind regards,
Susan
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
So when you use the word sometimes, you would use no punctuation? If i kept it where it was.
Expert:  Susan Athena replied 4 years ago.
That's right.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Did you study english?
Expert:  Susan Athena replied 4 years ago.
Yes, I've got a BA and MA in English literature and taught high school English for several years. Feel free to request me for all your grammar and writing questions.

If you're happy with my answer, please click Accept. Thank you!

Susan
Susan Athena and 2 other Homework Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks again for your time. I know i have much to learn, but it seems impossible to learn all the rules. I just want to right so it flows with disecting each sentence. What is the general rule for semi colans and commas verses colans. Ill will accept and we can start a new qyestion.
Expert:  Susan Athena replied 4 years ago.
THIS ANSWER IS LOCKED!

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