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Grammar Rules to Know for the Praxis Core Exam

While studying for the Praxis Core exam, you need to brush up on your grammar rules for the Writing portion of the exam. There’s a number of Praxis Core grammar rules you should know. Nevertheless, here are 5 rules that you must be prepared to face for the Praxis Core.

Praxis Core Grammar Rules

Comma Splices

When two independent clauses are joined by just a comma, you have a comma splice on your hands. A comma splice is similar to a run-on sentence. Some examples of a comma splice include:

  • Jane went to the grocery store, she needed to buy some milk.
  • Today is Jared’s birthday, we’re going out to dinner tonight.
  • It was very hot outside, they decided to go to the pool.

To fix these sentences, try:

  • Breaking the independent clauses into 2 sentences, (ex. Jane went to the grocery store. She needed to buy some milk.)
  • Add a conjunction after the comma (ex. Today is Jared’s birthday, so we’re going out to dinner tonight.), or
  • Add a subordinating conjunction (ex. Because it was very hot outside, they decided to go to the pool.).

Improper Pronoun Usage

When using pronouns, some people accidentally use the subjective pronoun when they should have used the objective pronoun. Or they use the objective pronoun when the subjective pronoun is appropriate. Subjective pronouns, such as I, he/she, we, they, and who, should be used when referring to the person performing the verb. Objective pronouns, such as me, him/her, us, them, and whom, should be used when referring to the object of the verb or preposition.

For example:

  • My brother and I raked the leaves.
  • Dad asked my brother and me to rake the leaves.

Misplaced Modifiers

A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that describes something. When the modifier gets separated from the word that its describing, it’s considered a misplaced modifier. Misplaced modifiers make the sentence awkward, confusing, or sometimes humorous. Check out these examples of misplaced modifiers and what you could do to correct them.

  1. The salesman sold the car to the woman with the shiny finish.

The salesman sold the car with the shiny finish to the woman.

  1. The broken teacher’s umbrella was on her desk.

The teacher’s broken umbrella was on her desk.

  1. I have 1 hour to only complete the quiz.

I have only 1 hour to complete the quiz.

Parallelism

Parallelism, or parallel structure, refers to patterns in words, phrases, and clauses in a sentence. When a person fails to use a parallel structure, the sentence sounds awkward. You’ll often see this in lists. For example, “Brody enjoys swimming, playing soccer, and to visit museums.” Instead, you should say “Brody enjoys swimming, playing soccer, and visiting museums.”

It gets harder to spot issues with parallelism as the sentences get longer and more complex, such as:

  • “The substitute told the class that they should work quietly, that they should complete the assignment, and ask any questions that they have.”

Change the sentence to

  • “The substitute told the class that they should work quietly, that they should complete the assignment, and that they should ask any questions they have.”

OR

  • “The substitute told the class to work quietly, complete the assignment, and ask any questions they have.”

Subject-Verb Agreement

If you use a single subject, you need a verb that matches it for subject-verb agreement. For example, you wouldn’t say I studies for the Praxis Core. Instead, you could say “I study for the Praxis Core” or “She studies for the Praxis Core.” Some other examples include:

  • She and I are going to the store together.
  • Congress is divided into 2 parts.
  • Each of the boys play well.
  • Betty was at school today.

Continue to study these Praxis Core grammar rules as you prepare for the exam. Observe how people use (and misuse) them every day, so you can become a grammarian to ace the exam.

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