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Part 1, Lessons 1-4 Suggested Resources

This resource was written by Jaclyn Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on November 5, 2013 .

Summary:

The first part of the GED Language Arts, Writing test consists of 50 multiple-choice questions. The sections below describe the subject areas of the test, the types of documents you’ll be looking at, and the types of questions you’ll answer.

Subject Areas


The following are the four subjects addressed by the questions (descriptions reprinted with permission of the American Council on Education):


The lessons in this resource are based on these four subject areas. You might recognize some of the key words and concepts discussed in these lessons from previous classes or reading. Even though the lessons are specifically tailored to the GED, studying them will help you develop your language skills for use in many situations.

Types of Documents

The test will ask you to look at and answer questions about the following types of documents:

Types of Questions

The following are the three types of questions that you will answer:

Example Passage

(1) As you will see from my resume, I have a lot to offer your company. (2) For one, the management training I have receive at Layne Community College has prepared me for a variety of leadership challenges. (3) Additionally, I have previous work experience as a shift leader and employee trainer at Applebee’s. (4) I have both education and work experience. So, I know that I would be a valuable asset to your company.


Example Correction Question: (2) For one, the management training I have receive at Layne Community College has prepared me for a variety of leadership challenges.

Which correction should be made to sentence 2?

  1. remove the comma after “For one”
  2. change “receive” to “received”
  3. replace “has prepared me” with “had prepared me”
  4. insert a comma after “Layne Community College”
  5. no correction is necessary

Answer: 2


Example Revision Question
: (3) Additionally, I have previous work experience as a shift leader and employee trainer at Applebee’s.

Which is the best way to rewrite sentence 3? If the original is the best way, choose option 1.

  1. a shift leader and employee trainer
  2. a shift leader, and employee trainer
  3. a shift leader (and employee trainer)
  4. a shift leader also employee trainer
  5. a shift leader. And employee trainer

Answer: 1


Example Construction Shift Question
: (4) I have both education and work experience. So, I know that I would be a valuable asset to your company.

Which is the most effective way of combining these sentences?

  1. I have both education and work experience; I know
  2. I have both education and work experience, and I know
  3. I have both education and work experience, so I know
  4. I have both education and work experience, which makes me know
  5. I have both education and work experience; I would be a valuable asset

Answer: 3


GED is a registered trademark of the American Council on Education and may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the American Council on Education.

1.1: Topic Sentences

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on August 7, 2009 .

Summary:
Part 1, Lesson 1 addresses organization. This page deals with topic sentences.

Lesson 1: Organization

This lesson addresses organization. Questions about organization make up 15 percent of the questions in Part I of the GED Language Arts, Writing test. Studying this resource will also help you think about organization in relation to the GED Essay. It will also improve your writing skills in general. Topics included in this resource are as follows: topic sentences, relevance of ideas, order of ideas, and transitions.

Topic Sentences

Every paragraph should include a topic sentence that identifies the main idea of the paragraph. A topic sentence also states the point the writer wishes to make about that subject. Generally, the topic sentence appears at the beginning of the paragraph. It is often the paragraph’s very first sentence. A paragraph’s topic sentence must be general enough to express the paragraph’s overall subject. But it should be specific enough that the reader can understand the paragraph’s main subject and point.

On the GED, you may be asked to choose a better topic sentence for a paragraph. Sometimes, a topic sentence may be entirely missing from a paragraph, and you will be asked to choose one for it. When choosing a topic sentence, remember these guidelines:

Topic Sentence Exercise

Write a topic sentence for the following paragraph.

During the 1990s, I really enjoyed watching Friends on television every Thursday night. I really wanted Rachel’s haircut—I think every girl wanted Rachel’s haircut back then! Rachel’s haircut went really well with the Guess Jeans that were so popular in the 1990s. I remember all the advertisements for Guess and Calvin Klein Jeans that were in each month’s Sassy magazine. I don’t think Sassy magazine exists anymore, but it was one of the most popular magazines for young women in the 1990s.

Click here for exercise answers.

1.1: Relevance of Ideas

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on August 7, 2009 .

Summary:
This resource deals with relevance of ideas.

Relevance of Ideas

A good paragraph should contain sentences that are relevant to the paragraph’s main subject and point. While the topic sentence sets up the main idea, the rest of the sentences provide details that support or explain this main idea. If you see a sentence that does not seem to relate to the topic sentence, it is probably irrelevant.

Sometimes, writers include details that only generally relate to a paragraph’s subject. You may have written this way in your own compositions. To avoid this in your test writing, think about your paragraph’s main subject and about the point you wish to make about this subject. Thinking about the point you wish to make will help you cut the sentences that relate generally to your subject, but do not specifically support your point.

On the GED, you may be asked to eliminate irrelevant sentences from paragraphs. To spot these irrelevant sentences, think about the paragraph’s subject and point. Thinking about the subject will help you cut sentences that do not relate to the paragraph’s subject. Thinking about the main point will help you cut sentences that relate generally to the paragraph’s subject but not necessarily to the point being made about the subject.

Relevance of Ideas Exercise

In the following paragraph, one or more of the sentences may be irrelevant. Read through the paragraph and decide what sentences you would get rid of.

Exercise is really good for one’s physical and mental health. It is proven that aerobic exercise is good for the heart, which is very important to overall health. I used to run every day, but now I go to dance classes to get my aerobic exercise. Strength training is important for maintaining muscle mass and improving bone density. Both muscle mass and bone density can decrease as we age, so improving them through strength training is important. My grandmother broke a hip last year because her bones were so fragile. All kinds of exercise have been shown to relieve depression, anxiety, and stress.

Click here for exercise answers.

1.1: Order of Ideas

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on August 7, 2009 .

Summary:
This resource deals with order of ideas.

Order of Ideas

In good paragraphs, sentences are arranged in logical order. There is no one order that will work for every paragraph. But there are a few organization patterns that paragraphs often follow. For example, sentences in a paragraph may be arranged to show time or sequence of events. In other paragraphs, sentences may be arranged in order of importance, moving from most important point to least important point or from least important to most important. In another common pattern, a paragraph’s sentences move from the most general point to the most specific, or vice versa. It’s important that all the sentences in a paragraph follow the pattern so that the paragraph is clear and logical.

The organization of a document is like the structure of a paragraph because there is not a standard pattern that works for every document. However, it is important that the document follow a logical order. Paragraphs in a document might be arranged to show time or a sequence of events. In other documents, paragraphs may be arranged from least important to most important point, or vice versa. Many documents will be arranged so that points move from most general to most specific, or most specific to most general. Like paragraph organization, the organization of a document should be consistent.

On the GED, some questions will ask you to restructure paragraphs or ideas within paragraphs. When answering these questions, use the following guidelines:

Read the passage carefully and make note of ideas that seem out of place. If an idea or paragraph seems out of place, there is a good chance that it is not in logical order.

Think about the type of organization pattern that the paragraph or document seems to follow. Overall, do ideas or paragraphs appear to be placed in chronological order? Do ideas flow from least to most important, or vice versa? Does information move from most general to most specific, or vice versa? Get a general sense of the organization of the paragraph or document. Understanding a general idea of organization will help you spot sentences or paragraphs that do not seem to follow the pattern.

Look for sentences that provide support for a point. This support might be examples, reasons, explanations, or details. In an effective paragraph, these sentences will directly follow the point they are supporting.

For each question, look at the options presented for restructuring the paragraphs or ideas. Do any of the options match what you noted the first time you read the passage? How would the changes proposed affect your reading of the passage? Remember that your goal should be to choose the organizational change that will make the passage most logical and clear. Sometimes, no revision will be necessary.

Order of Ideas Exercise

Consider the organization of the paragraph below. Reorganize the ideas so that the paragraph’s organization is logical.

Hotels and transportation on trips can be expensive if you don’t book them plenty of time in advance. When you go on a trip, you need to think about how much money to allot for things like transportation, food, and hotels. It is important to plan your trips carefully. Planning your trip carefully will allow you to have a more relaxed trip. Another thing to plan for is how much time you want to spend sightseeing and doing different sorts of activities. Even though you may want to do everything, you have to remember that there are only so many hours in the day!

Click here for exercise answers.

 

1.1: Transitions

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on August 7, 2009 .

Summary:
This resource deals with transitions.

Transitions

Transition words and phrases are used to relate ideas. Writers may use transitions within paragraphs or between paragraphs so that ideas flow smoothly between sentences and between paragraphs. The following table provides some common transitions and how they are used.

Use Transition Word or Phrase
To add and, again, and then, besides, equally important, finally, further, furthermore, nor, too, next, lastly, what's more, moreover, in addition, first (second, etc.)
To compare whereas, but, yet, on the other hand, however, nevertheless, on the contrary, by comparison, where, compared to, although, conversely, meanwhile, in contrast, although this may be true
To prove because, for, since, for the same reason, obviously, evidently, furthermore, moreover, besides, indeed, in fact, in addition, in any case, that is
To show time or sequence immediately, thereafter, soon, finally, then, later, previously, formerly, first (second, etc.), next, and then
To give an example for example, for instance, in this case, in another case, on this occasion, in this situation, take the case of, to demonstrate, to illustrate, as an illustration
To summarize or conclude in brief, on the whole, summing up, to conclude, in conclusion, as I have shown, as I have said, hence, therefore, accordingly, thus, as a result, consequently, on the whole
To emphasize definitely, obviously, in fact, indeed, absolutely, positively, naturally, surprisingly, always, forever, unquestionably, without a doubt, certainly, undeniably
To repeat in brief, as I have said, as I have noted, as has been noted

For more information about organization, please visit these OWL resources:

Transitions Exercise

Consider how transitions could be used in the example paragraphs in the Relevance of Ideas and the Order of Ideas exercises above. Insert transitions where you think they could be helpful.

Click here for exercise answers.

1.2: Fragments and Run-Ons

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Joshua M. Paiz on March 22, 2013 .

Summary:

Part 1, Lesson 2 explains sentence structure. This resource deals with fragment sentences and run-ons.

Lesson 2: Sentence Structure

This lesson addresses sentence structure. Questions about sentence structure make up 30 percent of the questions in Part I of the GED Language Arts, Writing test. Reviewing these skills will also help you prepare for the GED Essay, and it will improve your language skills in general. Topics included in this resource are the following: fragment sentences, run-on sentences, comma splices, parallel structure, modifiers, and coordination and subordination.

Fragment sentences

A complete sentence will have at least one subject and one verb. Sentences are considered fragments when they are missing either a subject or a verb. Consider the following two fragment sentences and their corrected versions:

In addition to containing a subject and verb, a complete sentence will express a complete thought. Consider the following two sentences and their revised versions.

Run-on sentences (Run-ons)

A run-on sentence occurs when two or more independent clauses are combined without correct punctuation. An independent clause is a complete, simple sentence, meaning that it contains a subject, a verb, and a complete thought. There are a few ways to correct run-on sentences. Consider the following run-on sentence and the following options for revising it.

Run-On: The grocery store was really packed with people there must have been a big sale today.

Here, the error has been corrected by simply breaking the run-on sentence into two sentences.

In this case, the sentence has been corrected by adding a coordinating conjunction and a comma. This is a compound sentence.

In this example, the sentence has been corrected by adding a subordinating conjunction and a comma. This is a complex sentence.

See the “Coordination and Subordination” section later in Lesson 2 for more information on coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.

Fragment sentence exercises

Some of the sentences below are fragments. Play editor on the sentences. Could you tell these writers why the fragments are incomplete sentences? Also, how would you tell the writers to fix them?

Click here for exercise answers.

Run-on sentence exercises

Some of the sentences below are run-ons. Play editor on the sentences. Could you tell these writers why the run-ons are incorrect? Also, how would you tell the writers to fix them?

Click here for exercise answers.

1.2: Comma Splices

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on August 7, 2009 .

Summary:
This page deals with comma splices.

Comma Splices

Comma splices are similar to run-on sentences because they also incorrectly connect independent clauses. A comma splice occurs when two independent clauses are connected with only a comma. As with a run-on sentence, there are a few different ways to correct a comma splice. Consider the following sentence and the revised versions that follow it.

Comma Splice: My family bakes together nearly every night, we then get to enjoy everything we make together.

The comma splice has been corrected by breaking the sentence into two separate sentences.

The comma splice has been corrected by adding a coordinating conjunction and a comma.

The comma splice has been corrected by adding a subordinating conjunction and a comma.

Comma Splice Exercise

The following sentences are comma splices. For each sentence, suggest two possible revisions.

Click here for exercise answers.

1.2: Parallel Structure

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on August 7, 2009 .

Summary:
This page deals with parallel structure.

Parallel Structure

When writing or revising a text, look carefully at sentences that list words, phrases, or clauses. In these sentences, the words, phrases, or clauses listed must follow the same grammatical form. This is called parallel structure. Read at the examples below to understand how to revise sentences for parallel structure.

Parallel: Tomorrow, I want to shop and eat lunch with Sarah.

In this sentence, the verbs to be shopping and eat lunch are the same form. To create parallel structure, the two verbs must be structured in the same form.


Parallel: Sarah and I always like to shop at specialty shops, in shoe stores, and in home stores.

This sentence lacks parallel structure for a couple of reasons. First, specialty shops and home stores are both preceded by prepositions (at and in), but shoe stores is not. Additionally, home stores is preceded by an article (the), but specialty shops and shoe stores are not.

Parallel: The best places to eat are casual, fun, and inexpensive.

Here, the sentence is not in parallel structure because the list includes words (casual and fun) and a short phrase (you can get a meal for cheap). A list should only be composed of either words or short phrases, not both.

Parallel Structure Exercise

Revise each of the following sentences for parallel structure.

Click here for exercise answers.

1.2: Modifiers

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on March 22, 2013 .

Summary:

This page deals with modifiers.

A modifier is a word or phrase that adds detail or description to a sentence. In the example sentences below, the modifiers are underlined.

While modifiers add detail and interest to sentences, they must be used carefully so that the reader understands the details being added. Writers generally make two major modifier mistakes: dangling modifiers and misplaced modifiers.

A dangling modifier occurs when the subject of the modifier is unclear. Most dangling modifiers occur at the beginning of sentences, but they can also occur at the end.
Consider the sentence below and its revision (the modifiers are underlined).

From the way this sentence is written, it actually looks like the CD has been looking through the whole music store. Even though readers can probably guess that it is the writer who has looked through the whole music store, the dangling modifier makes the sentence unclear. We can correct the dangling modifier and make the sentence clearer by adding a subject for the modifier.

Misplaced modifiers occur when the subject of the modifier is unclear because the modifier is poorly placed. The reader may be unsure of what word the modifier is describing. The reader may even think the misplaced modifier is describing a different word than intended. Consider the sentence below and its revision (the modifier is underlined).

The placement of the modifier in the store implies that the jacket was too small in the store. If the writer wants to convey that the jacket suddenly changed sizes when worn in other locations, then the modifier’s placement in the sentence is correct. If the modifier is intended to specify that the author is talking about the jacket in the store, then this modifier should be moved.

Modifier exercise

The following sentences contain either dangling or misplaced modifiers. Revise the sentences.

Click here for exercise answers.

1.2: Coordination and Subordination

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on August 7, 2009 .

Summary:
This page deals with coordination and subordination.

Coordination and Subordination

Coordinating conjunctions are used to join independent clauses to make compound sentences. The coordinating conjunctions are as follows: and, but, for, nor, or, so, and yet. You can use coordinating conjunctions to revise run-on sentences and comma splices (see above). You can also use coordinating conjunctions to make writing less choppy by joining short, simple sentences. Consider the following examples.

In this example, it is necessary to put a comma before the coordinating conjunction but because there are two independent clauses being combined. Another way to think of this is that I wanted more popcorn and Sam wanted Junior Mints could stand on their own as independent sentences. So, there must be a comma and a conjunction between them.

In this example, we’ve combined the sentences with the coordinating conjunction but. We’ve also eliminated some of the words so that the sentence wouldn’t sound redundant. In this case, it isn’t necessary to put a comma before but because there are not two independent clauses joined together.

Subordinating conjunctions are used to join independent clauses to make complex sentences. The subordinating conjunctions are as follows: after, although, as, as if, because, before, even if, even though, if, if only, rather than, since, that, though, unless, until, when, where, whereas, wherever, whether, which, and while.

You can use subordinating conjunctions to correct run-on sentences and comma splices. And you can use them to combine sentences so that writing is less choppy. Consider the following examples.

In this sentence, the subordinate clause is at the end. It would also be correct to place the subordinate clause at the beginning of the sentence:

Because it’s hard to eat popcorn without it, I wanted to get more soda.

Notice that when the subordinate clause comes at the beginning, it’s necessary to insert a comma.

I missed a really important part of the movie while I was getting more soda and popcorn. (Subordinate clause at the end of the sentence).

Subordination and Coordination Exercise

Join the two independent clauses to make a compound sentence. Use one of the coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet). Remember to use a comma before the connecting word.

Join the two independent clauses to make a complex sentence. Use one of the subordinating conjunctions (after, although, as, as if, because, before, even if, even though, if, if only, rather than, since, that, though, unless, until, when, where, whereas, wherever, whether, which, and while). Remember to use a comma if the subordinating conjunction comes at the beginning of the sentence.

Click here for exercise answers.

For more information about sentence structure, please visit these OWL resources:

 

1.2: Verb Tense

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on April 5, 2013 .

Summary:

This resource deals with verb tense, regular, and irregular verbs.

Verb Tense

Some questions will ask you to correct verb tense errors. This section reviews the different verb tenses and the irregular verbs that can cause confusion.

General Guidelines

The following are some general suggestions for dealing with verb tense questions.

Some questions will require you to read the entire passage so that you can choose verb tenses that are consistent with the whole passage instead of just one isolated sentence. Look to both the passage and the individual sentence to figure out which tense should be used.

Use clues in the passage and sentence to determine what verb tense you should choose. Certain words and phrases may indicate time. For example, yesterday would indicate the past and would provide a clue that the past tense should be chosen, while tomorrow would indicate the future and would provide a clue that the future tense should be chosen.

Also, pay attention to other verbs in the passage and sentence. The verb you’re looking at may also need to be in the past tense if all the other verbs are in the past tense.

Stay focused on what is happening in the passage. Concentrate on the individual words and the grammar and the message that is being communicated. This message will help you to figure out what is happening in the past, present, and future and therefore decide what verb tenses should be used.

Regular Verbs

For regular verbs, there is a pattern for forming verbs based on tenses (or time). There are seven basic verb tenses:

  1. Simple Present: They talk
  2. Present Perfect: They have talked
  3. Present Progressive: They are talking
  4. Simple Past: They talked
  5. Past Perfect: They had talked
  6. Future: They will talk
  7. Future Perfect: They will have talked

The examples above work with the subject they. They is a third-person plural noun. What do these verbs look like when paired with a third-person singular noun? See below.

  1. Simple Present: She talks
  2. Present Perfect: She has talked
  3. Present Progressive: She is talking
  4. Simple Past: She talked
  5. Past Perfect: She had talked
  6. Future: She will talk
  7. Future Perfect: She will have talked

Note that only two major elements differ between the third-person plural and third-person singular nouns: the simple present and the helping verbs (has, is, had, will, will have) in the Present Perfect, Present Progressive, Past Perfect, and Future Perfect tenses.

The table below reviews the verb forms for all seven basic tenses used with I, you, we, they (third-person plural), and she (third-person singular). The table also reviews the general meaning of each tense.

Tense Verb Form Meaning
Simple Present I, you, we, they talk
he, she, it talks
An action occurring habitually or generally: I talk to my mother every day.
Simple Past I, you, we, they, he, she, it talked An action in the past: I talked to my mother yesterday.
Future I, you, we, they, he, she, it will talk An action in the future: I will talk to my mother tomorrow.
Present Progressive I am talking
you, we, they are talking
he, she, it is talking
An action in progress: I am talking to my mother right now.
Present Perfect I, you, we, they have talked
he, she, it has talked
An action that occurred in the past and continues until present: I have talked to my mother every day this week.
Past Perfect I, you, we, they, he, she, it had talked An action from the past that was completed before something else: I had talked to my mother before my brother called her.
Future Perfect I, you, we, they, he, she, it will have talked A future action that will be completed at some specific time: I will have talked to my mother for 10 days in a row by this time next week.

Irregular Verbs

Some verbs in the English language are a bit tricky. These verbs don’t follow the usual verb patterns described above. It’s a good idea to become familiar with these verbs so that you can spot errors involving them on the multiple-choice questions and be careful with them when writing your essay. The tables below list the most common irregular verbs and provide their present, simple past, and past participle tenses.

Have, Do, and Be
The three most common irregular verbs in English are have, do, and be.

  Present Simple Past Past Participle (used with has, have, or had)
Have
I, you, we, they (or any plural noun)
Have Had Had
Have
He, she, it (or any singular noun)
Has Had Had
Do
I, you, we, they (or any plural noun)
Do Did Done
Do
He, she, it (or any singular noun)
Does Did Done
Be
I
Am Was Been
Be
He, she, it (or any singular noun)
Is Was Been
Be
You, we, they (or any plural noun)
Are Were Be

Other Irregular Verbs

The table below includes some other commonly used irregular verbs. The simple present, simple past, and past participle of each verb is included.

Present Past Past Participle
Become became become
Begin began begun
Blow blew blown
Break broke broken
Bring brought brought
Build built built
Burst burst burst

Catch

caught caught
Choose chose chosen
Come came come
Cut cut

cut

Deal dealt dealt
Drink drank drunk
Drive drove driven
Eat ate eaten
Fall fell fallen
Fight fought fought
Find found found
Fly flew flown
Forbid forbade forbidden
Forget forgot forgotten
Forgive forgave forgiven
Freeze froze frozen
Get got gotten
Give gave given
Go went gone
Grow grew grown
Hear heard heard
Hide hid hidden
Hold held held
Hurt hurt hurt
Keep kept kept
Know knew known
Lay laid laid
Lead led led
Leave left left
Let let let
Lie lay lain
Lose lost lost
Make made made
Meet met met
Pay paid paid
Quit quit quit
Read read read
Ride rode ridden
Run ran run
Say said said
See saw seen
Seek sought sought
Sell sold sold
Send sent sent
Shake shook shaken
Shine shone shone
Sing sang sung
Sit sat sat
Sleep slept slept
Speak spoke spoken
Spend spent spent
Spring sprang sprung
Stand stood stood
Steal stole stolen
Swim swam swum
Swing swung swung
Take took taken
Teach taught taught
Tear tore torn
Tell told told
Think thought thought
Throw threw thrown
Understand understood understood
Wake woke (waked) woken (waked)
Wear wore worn
Win won won
Write wrote written

Verb Tense Exercise 1

Check the following sentences for confusing shifts in tense. If the tense of each underlined verb expresses the time relationship accurately, write S (satisfactory). If a shift in tense is not appropriate, write U (unsatisfactory) and make necessary changes. In most cases with an inappropriate shift, there is more than one way to correct the inconsistency.

___ 1. If the club limited its membership, it will have to raise its dues.
___ 2. While Barbara puts in her contact lenses, the telephone rang.
___ 3. Thousands of people will see the art exhibit by the time it closes.
___ 4. By the time negotiations began, many pessimists have expressed doubt about them.
___ 5. After Capt. James Cook visited Alaska on his third voyage, he is killed by Hawaiian islanders in 1779.
___ 6. I was terribly disappointed with my grade because I studied very hard.
___ 7. The moderator asks for questions as soon as the speaker has finished.
___ 8. Everyone hopes the plan would work.
___ 9. Harry wants to show his friends the photos he took last summer.
___ 10. Scientists predict that the sun will die in the distant future.
___ 11. The boy insisted that he has paid for the candy bars.
___ 12. The doctor suggested bed rest for the patient, who suffers from a bad cold.

Click here for exercise answers.

Verb Tense Exercise 2

In the following passage from Alex Haley's Roots, some of the verbs have been deliberately omitted. Supply the appropriate tense for each missing verb. The plain form of each missing verb is given in parentheses.

In Banjuh, the capital of Gambia, I met with a group of Gambians. They (tell) me how for centuries the history of Africa has been preserved. In the older villages of the back country, there are old men called griots, who (be) in effect living archives. Such men (memorize) and, on special occasions, (recite) the cumulative histories of clans or families or villages as those histories (have) long been told. Since my forefather (have) said his name was Kin-tay (properly spelled Kinte), and since the Kinte clan (be) known in Gambia, the group of Gambians would see what they could do to help me. I was back in New York when a registered letter (arrive) from Gambia.

Word (have) been passed in the back country, and a griot of the Kinte clan (have) , indeed, been found. His name, the letter said, (be) Kebba Kanga Fofana. I (return) to Gambia and (organize) a safari to locate him.

Click here for exercise answers.

1.3: Subject-Verb Agreement

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on May 10, 2011 .

Summary:

Lesson 3 explains language usage. This page deals with subject-verb agreement.

Lesson 3: Usage

This lesson addresses usage. Questions about usage make up 30 percent of the questions in Part I of the GED Language Arts, Writing test. Reviewing these skills will also help you prepare for the GED Essay and improve your language skills in general. Topics addressed in this resource are as follows: subject-verb agreement, verb tense, and pronouns.

Subject-Verb Agreement

Some questions will ask you to correct errors in subject-verb agreement. Subject-verb agreement errors are very common. This section reviews basic rules for making subjects and verbs agree. This section also offers guidelines for dealing with tricky subject-verb situations that commonly confuse writers.

In general, subjects and verbs must agree in number. This means that a singular subject must have a singular verb, and a plural subject must have a plural verb. Additionally, subjects and verbs must agree in person (first, second, or third). See the table below to understand this general idea.

Subject / Verb Agreement: Singular Subjects Subject / Verb Agreement: Plural Subjects
I work we work
you work you work
she, he, it works they work

When you’re dealing with a simple subject like those in the table above, making the subjects and verbs agree is straightforward. Some subjects, however, are not so simple. The following guidelines will help you deal with these complex subjects and make them agree with verbs. Please note: in each example, the subject is italicized and the verb is underlined.

When the subject of a sentence is two or more nouns or pronouns (either singular or plural) connected by and, use a plural verb.

When the subject of a sentence is two or more singular nouns or pronouns connected or or nor, use a singular verb.

The verb should agree with the noun that is closer to the verb when the subject has both a singular noun or pronoun and a plural noun or pronoun connected by or or nor.

The following words are all singular and therefore require singular verbs: each, each one, either, neither, everyone, everybody, anybody, anyone, nobody, somebody, someone, and no one.

In sentences that begin with there are or there is, pay attention to what follows there are or there is. This element is what determines whether you use are or is. If the subject is plural, you use are; if the subject is singular, you use is.

Some subjects imply more than one person, but are themselves singular. These are known as collective nouns. Examples include group, team, committee, class, band, and family. Because these words are singular, they require a singular verb.

Be careful not to be misled by phrases that come between the subject and verb. Always remember that the verb should agree with the subject of the sentence, not with the noun(s) or pronoun(s) in the phrase. Carefully identifying the subject of the sentence will help you avoid this confusion.

Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise

Choose the correct form of the verb that agrees with the subject.
1. Annie and her brothers (is, are) at school.
2. Either my mother or my father (is, are) coming to the meeting.
3. The dog or the cats (is, are) outside.
4. Either my shoes or your coat (is, are) always on the floor.
5. George and Tamara (doesn't, don't) want to see that movie.
6. Benito (doesn't, don't) know the answer.
7. One of my sisters (is, are) going on a trip to France.
8. The man with all the birds (live, lives) on my street.
9. The movie, including all the previews, (take, takes) about two hours to watch.
10. The players, as well as the captain, (want, wants) to win.
11. Either answer (is, are) acceptable.
12. Every one of those books (is, are) fiction.
13. Nobody (know, knows) the trouble I've seen.
14. (Is, Are) the news on at five or six?
15. Mathematics (is, are) John's favorite subject, while Civics (is, are) Andrea's favorite subject.
16. Eight dollars (is, are) the price of a movie these days.
17. (Is, Are) the tweezers in this drawer?
18. Your pants (is, are) at the cleaner's.
19. There (was, were) fifteen candies in that bag. Now there (is, are) only one left!
20. The committee (debates, debate) these questions carefully.
21. The committee (leads, lead) very different lives in private.
22. The prime minister, together with his wife, (greets, greet) the press cordially.
23. All of the CDs, even the scratched one, (is, are) in this case.

Click here for exercise answers.

1.3: Pronouns

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on March 22, 2013 .

Summary:

This resource deals with pronouns.

Pronouns

Some questions will ask you to correct errors in pronoun reference. This section reviews pronouns and discusses some of the common errors writers make when using them.

A pronoun replaces a noun. We call the word being replaced by the pronoun the antecedent. In the following sentence, keys is the antecedent (the noun that is being replaced), and them is the pronoun that replaces keys.

In the example above, them replaces an object. Therefore, it is an object pronoun. Sometimes, a pronoun replaces a subject instead of an object. These pronouns are called subject pronouns. In the following example, Seth is the antecedent, and he is the subject pronoun that replaces it.

A third type of pronoun is a possessive pronoun. These pronouns replace possessive nouns. In the following example, Jenny’s is the antecedent, and her is the possessive pronoun that replaces it.

Jenny’s keys may turn up. Her keys go missing all the time.

In sum, the three types of pronouns are:

1. Subject Pronouns: these pronouns replace subjects

2. Object Pronouns: these pronouns replace objects

3. Possessive Pronouns: these pronouns replace possessive nouns and show ownership

There are a few common errors writers make when using pronouns. Review the following common errors and pronoun guidelines below so you can correct these problems on the multiple-choice questions when you sit for the GED examination.

Be careful with compound subjects. You might have had in the past a teacher who corrected you for saying something like, “My dad and me went to the store” (most of us have). The reason that this is incorrect is that My dad and me is the subject of the sentence, not the object; thus, the subject pronoun I is required instead of the object pronoun me. Look at the examples below to further understand this guideline.

Example 1: Compound Subject
INCORRECT: Lauren and her went to the principal’s office.
CORRECT: Lauren and she went to the principal’s office.

Example 2: Compound Object
INCORRECT: I told Matt and he they should get along better.
CORRECT: I told Matt and him they should get along better.

Be careful to match antecedents and pronouns according to number. This means that if an antecedent is a singular noun, its pronoun will also be singular; if an antecedent is a plural noun, its pronoun will also be plural.

INCORRECT: Any participant running in the marathon should bring their shoes.
CORRECT (Option 1): Any participant running in the marathon should bring his or her shoes.
CORRECT (Option 2): Participants running in the marathon should bring their shoes.

Be careful to match antecedents and pronouns according to person. This means that if an antecedent is in the first person, the pronoun must also be in the first person. If an antecedent is in the second person, the pronoun must also be in the second person. If an antecedent is in the third person, the pronoun must be in the third person.

INCORRECT: If people eat too much, you get sick.
CORRECT: If people eat too much, they get sick.

Writers often forget that one is a third-person noun. When they forget this, they use one and you together, even though you is actually a second-person pronoun. There are a few ways to correct this error. See the example below.

INCORRECT: If one eats too much, you get sick.
CORRECT (Option 1): If one eats too much, one gets sick.
CORRECT (Option 2): If one eats too much, he or she gets sick.
CORRECT (Option 3): If you eat too much, you get sick.

Make sure that the antecedent of the pronoun is clear. In conversation and informal writing, we often use pronouns casually and assume our listeners/readers will understand us. While people can figure out what our pronouns refer to based on context, it is important to use pronouns carefully. You should construct sentences that contain clear relationships between the antecedent and its pronoun. See the example sentences and their revisions below.

Example 1
UNCLEAR: Rachel went running with Melanie, and she beat her time by five minutes.

In this example, it’s unclear whose time is best. After you read this sentence, you may be confused about the faster runner. The following revision is one option for clarifying the sentence.

CLEAR: Rachel went running with Melanie and beat Melanie’s time by five minutes.

In this revision, we’ve simply removed the pronouns, leaving beat as a verb that goes with Rachel and replacing her with Melanie’s.

Example 2
UNCLEAR: My mother, sister, and I go to the Mother’s Day brunch every year. She really enjoys spending time with us.

Based on assumptions about family and Mother’s Day, a reader might assume that the she in the second sentence refers to mother and the us refers to sister and I. However, the sentence is unclear. From the way the sentence is written, it’s possible that she refers to sister and us refers to my mother…and I.

CLEAR: My mother, sister, and I go to the Mother’s Day brunch every year. My mother really enjoys spending time with us.

In this revision, we’ve replaced one pronoun—she—with a noun. We’ve left us the same, since it is now clear that us refers to the two sisters.

Pronoun exercise 1

In the sentences below, decide whether the pronoun (underlined) is a subject, object, or possessive pronoun. Also, identify the pronoun’s antecedent (the word it replaces).

Click here for exercise answers.

Pronoun exercise 2

The following sentences contain pronoun errors. Identify the errors and correct them.

My mother gave ten dollars to my sister and I.
Him and Mitch went to the video store to pick a movie.
Anyone running in the marathon should remember to bring their shoes.

Click here for exercise answers.

For more information about usage, please visit these OWL resources:

1.4: Capitalization

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on August 7, 2009 .

Summary:
Lesson 4 explains mechanics. This resource deals with capitalization.

Lesson 4: Mechanics

This lesson addresses mechanics. Questions about mechanics make up 25 percent of the questions in Part I of the GED Language Arts, Writing test. Reviewing these skills will also help you prepare for the GED Essay and improve your language skills in general. Topics addressed in this resource are as follows: capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.

Capitalization

Some of the multiple-choice questions will ask you to correct errors in capitalization. To prepare for these questions, become familiar with the following rules for what words to capitalize and what words not to capitalize. Familiarizing yourself with these rules will also help you to edit your essay.

People
Always capitalize the names of people.

Capitalize titles, like doctor, professor, and judge, when they refer to a specific person. Don’t capitalize those words when they refer only to an occupation.

Capitalize family relationships only when they are used as part of a person’s title.

Capitalize the names of political, racial, social, national, civic, and athletic groups.

Places
Always capitalize the names of specific places: cities, countries, geographic regions, street names, schools and universities, and landmarks.

Capitalize words that are derived from the names of places, including languages.

Do not capitalize directions or other general geographical words.

Dates and Events
Always capitalize names of months, days of the week, and holidays.

Capitalize the names of historic events.

Do not capitalize the names of seasons, unless the season is part of a title.

Titles of Works
Always capitalize the titles of articles, books, magazines, songs, albums, television shows, plays, etc.

Don’t capitalize short prepositions or articles (the, an, of, etc.) if they aren’t the first word of the title.

Capitalize the brand names of specific products.

Do not capitalize the general names of products.

Capitalization Exercise

Some of the following sentences contain capitalization errors. Identify and correct the errors. Note: not all sentences contain errors.

1. I read To Kill A Mockingbird when I was in High School.
2. We went to Maui for vacation last year.
3. I don’t drink Coke, but I’d love a Diet Soda.
4. I hear you’re learning to speak french. I would love to go to France.
5. Jamie and Jonathon went to their high school dance together last May.
6. My Father-in-Law took me to a Chicago Cubs game; He doesn’t know I’m a White Sox fan.
7. Jessica’s dad, Dr. Johnson, wants her to be a Doctor as well.
8. Jeremy went to Alexander community college for two years.
9. My sister’s new boyfriend is italian.
10. We traveled South on vacation because my dad wanted to study Civil War history.

Click here for exercise answers.

1.4: Commas

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on August 7, 2009 .

Summary:
This resource deals with punctuation, specifically, commas.

Punctuation

Some questions on the GED will ask you to correct punctuation errors. To prepare for these questions, review the punctuation rules below. Reviewing these rules will also help you edit your essay.

Commas

Most of the errors you will be asked to correct will involve comma use. You’ll notice that many of the rules discussed here relate to the information on sentence structure from Lesson 2. It might be useful for you look at both lessons and draw some connections between them.

Use a comma before a conjunction (and, but, for, nor, or, so, and yet) to join two independent clauses:

Use a comma after an introductory phrase. Also use a comma after a subordinate clause at the beginning of the sentence (see Lesson 2 for information about subordinate clauses).

Use a comma to separate elements in a list. Sometimes, writers will leave off the comma before the final element in a list. While this is acceptable, it’s generally included.

Use a comma to set off information that is not essential to the meaning of the sentence.

Use a comma between adjectives that are separate (meaning that each adjective independently describes the noun).

Use a comma after a transitional word or phrase (see Lesson 1 for a list of transitional words and phrases).

Use a comma with a date.

Use a comma to separate a city name from a state name.

Comma Exercise 1

Place commas wherever they are needed in the following sentences.

1. There was no question that John's painting a huge colorful and ugly mural was the worst entry in the art exhibit.
2. Werner von Braun Willy Ley and Edward Teller noted authorities in the field of rocket development have done much to guide the missile program of the United States.
3. Mr. Cready's ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time is I believe amazing.
4. Running around the house the dog was abruptly stopped by a fence.
5. If the opposition should win our candidate would never have any political future.
6. Gracefully lightly and daintily the ballerina moved across the stage.
7. Glamour the woman's fashion magazine recently incorporated with Charm another fashion journal.
8. Joe was born on May 7 1955 and his best friend was born exactly two months later on July 7 1955.
9. Mr. and Mrs. Kwon my parents' best friends sat in front of us at the football game.
10. November 11 1918 the armistice ending World War I was signed.

Click here for exercise answers.

Comma Exercise 2

Place commas wherever they are needed in the following sentences.
1. We went to Bar Harbor but did not take the ferry to Nova Scotia.
2. The ginkgo tree whose leaves turn bright yellow in the fall came to this country from Asia.
3. The address for the governor's mansion is 391 West Ferry Road Atlanta Georgia.
4. The villagers enjoyed fairs festivals and good conversation.
5. When the intermission was over the members of the audience moved back to their seats.
6. Andy took the elevator to the third floor rushed into the office and asked to see his father.
7. When he stumbled over your feet William was clumsy not rude.
8. She listened to her favorite record with close careful attention.
9. Jillian who had worked in the dress shop all summer hoped to work there again during the Christmas holidays.
10. Go the first traffic light turn left and then look for a yellow brick building on the north side of the street.
11. Once she has graduated I do not know where she is going or what she is planning to do.
12. "Oh no," Max exclaimed "I think that Dr. Holmes was referring to Eliot the novelist not Eliot the poet."
13. Below the fields stretched out in a hundred shades of green.
14. To understand the purpose of the course the student needs to read the syllabus.
15. All students are eligible to receive tickets but must go to the athletic office to pick them up.
16. Thomas Paine's pamphlet appeared in Philadelphia Pennsylvania on January 9 1776.
17. You don't want any more hamburgers do you?

Click here for exercise answers.

1.4: Semi-Colons, Colons, and Quotation Marks

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on March 29, 2013 .

Summary:

This resource deals with semi-colons, colons, and quotation marks.

Punctuation, Continued

Semi-Colons and Colons

You can use a semi-colon to join two independent clauses. Joining two independent clauses this way implies that the two clauses are related and/or equal, or perhaps that one restates the other.

Use semi-colons between items in a list that already involve commas.

Use a colon after an independent clause when introducing a list.

Use a colon after an independent clause when introducing a quotation.

Use a colon between two independent clauses when you want to emphasize the second clause.

Quotation Marks

Put quotation marks around direct quotes. Make sure to put punctuation (commas, periods, etc.) before the first quotation mark and inside of the closing quotation mark.

Use quotation marks around short poems, song titles, short stories, magazine or newspaper articles, essays, speeches, chapter titles, short films, and episodes of television or radio shows.

Commas versus Semi-Colon Exercise

Each of the following sentences needs either a comma or a semicolon. Put in the necessary punctuation.
1. Many companies make sugar-free soft drinks, which are flavored by synthetic chemicals the drinks usually contain only one or two calories per serving.
2. Mr. Leyland played the viola professionally for many years and he now conducts a community orchestra.
3. The crab grass was flourishing but the rest of the lawn, unfortunately, was dying.
4. The hill was covered with wildflowers it was a beautiful sight.
5. As I turned around, I heard a loud thump for the cat had upset the goldfish bowl.
6. The artist preferred to paint in oils he did not like watercolors.
7. The house was clean, the table set, and the porch light on everything was ready for the guests' arrival.
8. He looked carefully in the underbrush but he failed to notice the pair of green eyes staring at him.
9. The foundations of the house had been poured but, to his disappointment, nothing else had been done because of the carpenters' strike.
10. The computer could perform millions of operations in a split second however, it could not think spontaneously.
11. I thought registration day would be tiring but I didn't know I'd have to stand in so many lines.
12. The dog, growling and snarling, snapped at me I was so frightened that I ran.
13. The snowstorm dumped twelve inches of snow on the interstate subsequently, the state police closed the road.
14. Professors are supposed to be absent-minded and I've seen plenty of evidence to support that claim since I've been in college.
15. The suspect said that he had never met the victim however, the detective knew that he was lying.
16. In the first place, it was snowing too hard to see the road in the second place, we had no chains.
17. I have read Soul on Ice but I have not read The Invisible Man.
18. San Francisco is my favorite city in fact, I plan to spend two weeks there this summer.
19. The quarterback made a brilliant pass and the end crossed the goal line for the winning touchdown.
20. Large supermarkets fascinate me I can find everything from frozen chow mein to soybean flour in one place.
21. Ron and Mike were both in English class this morning they gave an interesting presentation on their research.
22. The obstacles are not insurmountable but they are real and formidable.
23. Riding a bicycle is excellent exercise I ride mine every day.
24. I am not interested in a trip to Asia this year however, I would like to go to Europe.
25. Not all highly educated people enjoy traveling, but many world travelers are particularly well educated.
26. Jack worked overtime to pay off his education debts at least, that was his explanation for his long hours.
27. Katherine has given up smoking about five times but she cannot seem to break the habit.
28. His work may be almost totally forgotten but he would certainly be surprised to see how much current scholarship simply echoes his ideas.
29. Our dog seems to have a built-in alarm clock he wakes us up at exactly the same time every morning.
30. The passengers on the plane were initially alarmed by the loss of altitude but the pilot and the crew kept them calm.
31. I realized at once that something was wrong I was not, however, the only person who was concerned.
32. I had to complete the assignment by Friday otherwise, I would have failed the course.
33. Ralph decided to be a chemist but he changed his mind after taking Chem. 121.
34. I finished reading The Nation and then I went to bed.
35. We always go to the mountains in the fall they are at their prettiest at that time of year.
36. Tim went to the candy store quite often the clerk even knew his name.
37. Criticism of capitalist expansionism does not surface in most discussions of the worldwide ecological crisis indeed, proposed solutions rarely deviate from a basic message of further technological "progress."
38. The president has pledged to cut taxes repeatedly and the public has responded enthusiastically.
39. The office was closed consequently, I could not pay my bill.
40. The air was beautifully clear it was a lovely day.

Click here for exercise answers.

1.4: Italics and Underlining

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Elizabeth Angeli, Allen Brizee on April 3, 2013 .

Summary:

This resource deals with italics and underlining.

Punctuation, Continued

Italics and Underlining

Italics and underlining generally serve similar purposes. However, the context for their use is different. When handwriting a document--or in other situations where italics aren't an option--use underlining. When you are word processing a document on a computer, use italics. The important thing is to stay consistent in how you use italics and underlining.

Italicize the titles of magazines, books, newspapers, academic journals, films, television shows, long poems, plays, operas, musical albums, works of art, websites.

Quotation Marks and Italics/Underlining Exercise

In the following sentences put in quotation marks wherever they are needed, and underline words where italics are needed.

1. Mary is trying hard in school this semester, her father said.
2. No, the taxi driver said curtly, I cannot get you to the airport in fifteen minutes.
3. I believe, Jack remarked, that the best time of year to visit Europe is in the spring. At least that's what I read in a book entitled Guide to Europe.
4. My French professor told me that my accent is abominable.
5. She asked, Is Time a magazine you read regularly?
6. Flannery O'Connor probably got the title of one of her stories from the words of the old popular song, A Good Man Is Hard to Find.
7. When did Roosevelt say, We have nothing to fear but fear itself?
8. It seems to me that hip and cool are words that are going out of style.
9. Yesterday, John said, This afternoon I'll bring back your book Conflict in the Middle East; however, he did not return it.
10. Can you believe, Dot asked me, that it has been almost five years since we've seen each other?
11. A Perfect Day for Bananafish is, I believe, J. D. Salinger's best short story.
12. Certainly, Mr. Martin said, I shall explain the whole situation to him. I know that he will understand.

Click here for exercise answers.

Punctuation Exercise

Put in semicolons, colons, dashes, quotation marks, Italics (use an underline), and parentheses where ever they are needed in the following sentences.

1. The men in question Harold Keene, Jim Peterson, and Gerald Greene deserve awards.
2. Several countries participated in the airlift Italy, Belgium, France, and Luxembourg.
3. Only one course was open to us surrender, said the ex-major, and we did.
4. Judge Carswell later to be nominated for the Supreme Court had ruled against civil rights.
5. In last week's New Yorker, one of my favorite magazines, I enjoyed reading Leland's article How Not to Go Camping.
6. Yes, Jim said, I'll be home by ten.
7. There was only one thing to do study till dawn.
8. Montaigne wrote the following A wise man never loses anything, if he has himself.
9. The following are the primary colors red, blue, and yellow.
10. Arriving on the 8 10 plane were Liz Brooks, my old roommate her husband and Tim, their son.
11. When the teacher commented that her spelling was poor, Lynn replied All the members of my family are poor spellers. Why not me?
12. He used the phrase you know so often that I finally said No, I don't know.
13. The automobile dealer handled three makes of cars Volkswagens, Porsches, and Mercedes Benz.
14. Though Phil said he would arrive on the 9 19 flight, he came instead on the 10 36 flight.
15. Whoever thought said Helen that Jack would be elected class president?
16. In baseball a show boat is a man who shows off.
17. The minister quoted Isaiah 5 21 in last Sunday's sermon.
18. There was a very interesting article entitled The New Rage for Folk Singing in last Sunday's New York Times newspaper.
19. Whoever is elected secretary of the club Ashley, or Chandra, or Aisha must be prepared to do a great deal of work, said Jumita, the previous secretary.
20. Darwin's On the Origin of Species 1859 caused a great controversy when it appeared.

Click here for exercise answers.

1.4: Spelling

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on March 22, 2013 .

Summary:

This resource deals with spelling.

Some of the multiple-choice questions will ask you to correct spelling errors. However, you are not required to know how to spell every word in the English language. The questions will be restricted to errors related to possessives, contractions, and homonyms.

Possessives

A possessive demonstrates ownership of something. Use the following guidelines to correct spelling errors that involve possessives.

To create a possessive with a singular noun or a plural noun that does not end in s, add an apostrophe and an s. Remember that if you add only an s without an apostrophe, your reader will think the word is a plural noun rather than a possessive singular noun.

To create a possessive with a plural noun that ends in s, just add an apostrophe. This includes plural nouns that end in ies.

With possessive pronouns (his, hers, ours, yours, whose, theirs, its), you do not need to use apostrophes. When preceding a noun, his, her, our, your, whose, and their, you don’t need an s because they are already possessive.

Note: This error is very common. People often confuse the possessive its with the contraction it’s (see contraction section below). Just remember that its is possessive of something and it’s means it is.

Apostrophe exercise

Punctuate the following sentences with apostrophes according to the rules for using the apostrophe.
1. Whos the partys candidate for vice president this year?
2. The fox had its right foreleg caught securely in the traps jaws.
3. Our neighbors car is an old Chrysler, and its just about to fall apart.
4. In three weeks time well have to begin school again.
5. Didnt you hear that theyre leaving tomorrow?
6. Whenever I think of the stories I read as a child, I remember Cinderellas glass slipper and Snow Whites wicked stepmother.
7. We claimed the picnic table was ours, but the Smiths children looked so disappointed that we found another spot.
8. Its important that the kitten learns to find its way home.
9. She did not hear her childrens cries.
10. My address has three 7s, and Tims phone number has four 2s.
11. Didnt he say when he would arrive at Arnies house?
12. Its such a beautiful day that Ive decided to take a sun bath.
13. She said the watch Jack found was hers, but she couldnt identify the manufacturers name on it.
14. Little girls clothing is on the first floor, and the mens department is on the second.
15. The dogs bark was far worse than its bite.
16. The moons rays shone feebly on the path, and I heard the insects chirpings and whistlings.
17. Theyre not afraid to go ahead with the plans, though the choice is not theirs.
18. The man whose face was tan said that he had spent his two weeks vacation in the mountains.
19. I found myself constantly putting two cs in the word process.
20. Johns 69 Ford is his proudest possession.

Click here for exercise answers.

Homonym exercise

Some of the following sentences contain homonym errors. Identify and correct the errors. Note: not all sentences contain errors and some may contain multiple errors.

1. Ryan can’t accept that I’m not going too the dance with him.
2. You can put the flowers over there.
3. I’ve been trying really hard to keep the piece, but its been hard.
4. I’m not sure who’s sweater this is. Do you know?
5. My dad always says that its the principal that counts.
6. That poodle might be just a bit smarter then I am.
7. We can return all of the stuff accept for the things that are already opened.
8. I worry about my boyfriend’s past, but he tells me it shouldn’t effect our relationship.
9. Weather you want to admit it or not, it’s hard to predict the future.
10. Can you believe she ate that hole pizza?

Click here for exercise answers.

EI/IE spelling exercise

Complete the sentences with the correctly spelled words.

1. There are (eight, ieght) candles on the cake.
2. I have not (recieved, received) a letter since Saturday.
3. Have you ever been on a (sleigh, sliegh) ride?
4. Her (neice, niece) is going to come to (grief, greif).
5. She (shrieked, shreiked) in surprise when he dropped the ice cube down her back.
6. Drop that silver, you (theif, thief)!
7. He's the most (conceited, concieted) man I know.
8. I don't (beleive, believe) he is so (conceited, concieted).
9. As he was dying, the (cheif, chief) asked for a (preist, priest).
10. Leave the mouse a (peice, piece) of cheese.
11. Brevity is the soul of wit; therefore, be (breif, brief).
12. The (freight, frieght) train woke the (nieghbors, neighbors).

Click here for exercise answers.

1.4: Contractions

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on March 23, 2009 .

Summary:
This resource deals with contractions.

Contractions

In a contraction, you combine two words by leaving out some letters and replacing them with an apostrophe. We use contractions all the time when speaking and in informal writing, though they are less common in academic writing. See the examples below.

Because some possessives and contractions sound alike (you’re/your, they’re/their, it’s/its), you have to be very careful not to confuse these words (see the homonyms section below). To check for whether a possessive or a contraction should be used, consider the meaning of the sentence. What is being communicated? See the examples below.

 

1.4: Homophones

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Elizabeth Angeli, Allen Brizee on August 16, 2013 .

Summary:

This resource deals with homophones, or words that sound alike but are spelled differently and have different meanings.

Homophones

Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. The following table lists words that people commonly confuse. Become familiar with these words so you can be ready to correct homophone-related spelling errors. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to the words you most commonly confuse; you may even keep a running list of these words as you prepare for the GED.

Word Example Sentences

accept
except

My insurance will accept the charges for the accident.
I like all vegetables, except for asparagus.
affect
effect
Changing the way you eat will affect your health.
I can’t see what effect these new laws will have on me.
board
bored
We put a board on the roof to fix the leak.
I am so bored because there’s nothing to do!
brake
break
Always keep your foot above the brake!
My dad is worried my mom will break our new television.
close
clothes
When you leave the room, always close the door.
I want to go shopping to buy new clothes.
desert
dessert
I thought you guys were going to desert me!
The cherry pie looks so good for dessert!
ensure
insure
John wants to ensure he will graduate next semester.
Mary will insure her new car.
fare
fair
I didn’t have money for the bus fare this morning.
It was only fair that the bus driver kicked me off the bus.
forth
fourth
I’m not sure I can go forth with the plan.
Allen was so proud to come in fourth in the pie-eating contest!
grate
great
We need to grate some cheese to put on the pizza.
If it has enough cheese, it will be a great pizza!
hear
here
The volume was turned down so low I couldn’t hear it.
Could you please bring the beef jerky over here?
hole
whole
If I eat one more doughnut hole, I will be stuffed.
I looked through the whole house, but I couldn’t find my umbrella.
know
no
I really have to know a lot to do well on my history test.
I am going to study until I have no time left.
led
lead
The dog led the police to the drug stash.
Pens are okay, but I prefer old-fashioned lead pencils.
lessen
lesson
The doctor gave me some stretches to do to lessen the pain.
I’m not sure if he’s learned his lesson yet.
lose
loose
I’m trying hard to not lose patience with her.
The knot might not hold, since it’s sort of loose.
male
mail
The kennel had both male and female puppies for sale.
I’m going to the post office to send my mail.
passed
past
I kept getting passed on the interstate today.
In the past, I drove a lot faster.
peace
piece
We all wish for world peace.
A piece of pie would be great right now.
principal
principle
My high school principal gave pretty good advice.
I don’t want to compromise my principles.
than
then
I am tanner than she.
We were both on the beach, but then she went inside.
there
their
they're
You can put your shoes over there.
Their shoes were dirty, so they left them outside.
They’re just walking around barefoot right now.
to
too
two
I am going to the mall.
Jesse said she wants to go too.
We are each looking for two new outfits.
weather
whether
The weather tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful.
I don’t know whether to go for a hike or a swim.
whose
who's
Whose scarf is this?
Who’s going to the movie with us?
your
you're
Your dog is bigger than my dog.
You’re going to have to keep him on a leash.

For more information about spelling, please visit these OWL resources:

Part 1, Lessons 1-4 Suggested Resources

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on March 23, 2009 .

Summary:
This resource contains links to Purdue OWL resources on the subject covered in Part 1, Lessons 1-4.

Further Resources: Language Arts, Writing Test, Part I

The Purdue OWL contains many resources about the subjects covered by Part I of the GED Language Arts, Writing test. You can use these sources to get more information about language skills tested by the GED. Follow the links below to view these sources.

Organization

Developing an Outline
Paragraphs and Paragraphing
Reverse Outlining
Transitions and Transitional Devices

Sentence Structure

Commas
Conquering the Comma
Dangling Modifiers
Parallel Structure
Sentence Clarity
Sentence Fragments

Usage

Pronouns
Relative Pronouns
Subject/Verb Agreement
Verb Tenses

Mechanics

Capital Letters
Punctuation
Sentence Punctuation Patterns
Spelling