Below are some common grammar/punctuation rules. It is very basic so that everyone (including those for whom English is not a first language!) can understand what I'm attempting to explain. It is by no means a comprehensive list of all the grammatical rules or types of punctuation. (Check out our Writing Resources Links page for sites who do have in-depth discussion of such issues.) This is merely meant to be a starting point.
Noun: person, place, thing, or idea. Willow The Magic Box blood are all nouns.
Verb: an action word. slay stake ran
Adjective: describes a noun. red hair, wooden stake
Adverb: modify verbs. Often end in "ly" (though not always). Answer the question "How?" How did Willow do on her exam? Willow did well on her exam. How did Spike run toward the fight? Spike quickly ran toward the fight.
Pronoun: Refers to the noun in the sentence. Willow studied for her test.
All sentences must have a noun and a verb, otherwise it is not a sentence but rather a sentence fragment.
Make sure subjects and verbs agree! If the subject is singular (he, she, it, you, Willow, Spike, etc.) make the verb singular! If the subject is plural (they, we, the Scoobies, the Slayerettes) make the verb plural!
Keep your verbs in the same tense! (Unless you're doing a flashback or speaking of what happened in the past). For instance, do not do this: Willow opens the door and picked up the phone. Grammatically correct, this would be: Willow opened the door and picked up the phone. OR Willow opens the door and picks up the phone.
Check for run-on sentences! A run-on sentence is an independent clause that have not been joined correctly. I know, you're looking at the screen asking "What on EARTH is she talking about?" An example of a run-on is this: Stakes and holy water can kill vampires they are an essential part of slaying equipment. To correct this sentence there are four choices:
1. Use a comma and a coordinating conjunction (however, thus, therefore). This would change our sentence to: Stakes and holy water can kill vampires and therefore are an essential part of slaying equipment.
2. Use a semicolon, a colon or a dash. Stakes and holy water can kill vampires; they are an essential part of slaying equipment.
3. Make the clauses into separate sentences. Stakes and holy water can kill vampires. They are an essential part of slaying equipment.
4. Restructure the sentence: Since stakes and holy water can kill vampires, they are an essential part of slaying equipment.