Online Grammar Tutorial: Practice

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Error codes for The St. Martin's Guide to Writing are organized according to these categories, listed in the order they appear in the Handbook:

Practice Strategies

If your instructor marks an error code on your paper, you can use one or more of these strategies to correct the error:

  1. Check the blue Handbook pages at the back of your text for a general explanation and some examples.
  2. Visit Exercise Central.
    Match the error code to a practice exercise. For example, P1 indicates that the mistake is a punctuation error. Any Exercise Central activity coded P1 will help you correct the error. Click on Student Scorecard to get your score.
  3. Explore the online resources.
    These resources include more detailed explanations and interactive quizzes. The resources at the beginning of the list are the easiest.
  4. If you run across too many unfamiliar words or concepts, the Review section of this site can help. (Many resources on the Practice page are written for people who know the parts of speech and basic grammatical terms like subject and predicate.)
Boundaries (S)
Exercise Central Resources

S1 Comma splices


Run-on Sentences

Fixing Comma Splices

Summary of Solutions

Avoiding Comma Splices, Fused Sentences, and Run-ons

Sentence Sense (tutorial)

S2 Fused sentences S2

Comma Splices

Fused Sentences (how to fix)

Avoiding Comma Splices, Fused Sentences, and Run-ons

S3 Fragments S3

Sentence Fragments

Common Causes of Fragments

Sentence Fragments (tutorial)

Stylistic Fragments

Sentence Fragments: Exercise 1

Grammatical Sentences (G)

Exercise Central Resources

G1 Pronoun Reference











To Search for Problems with Pronoun Agreement or Reference


G2 Pronoun Agreement G2

Pronouns and Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (Darling)

Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement (LEO)

G3 Relative Pronouns G3 Relative Pronouns
G4 Pronoun Case G4

Pronoun Cases

Incorrect Pronoun Case

G5 Verbs G5

Verbs and Verbals

Active and Passive Verbs

G6 Subject-Verb Agreement G6

Subject-Verb Agreement (Darling)

Subject-Verb Agreement (UW Madison)

Identifying Verbs and Their Subjects

Making Subjects and Verbs Agree

Subject and Verb Agreement (LEO)

To Search for Problems with Subject-Verb Agreement

Subject-Verb Agreement (tutorial)

Modifying Phrases or Clauses Between Subject and Verb (tutorial)

G7 Adjectives and Adverbs G7



Punctuation (P)

Exercise Central Resources

P1 Commas




Comma Errors


Commas (restrictive/nonrestrictive modifiers)

Omitted Commas

Using Commas: Exercise 1

Capitalization and Punctuation: Comma (tutorial)

P2 Unnecessary Commas P2

Punctuating Independent Clauses and Dependent Clauses
(see "disruptive commas")

Superfluous Commas

P3 Semicolons P3

Semicolon Rules

Using Semicolons

Uses of the Semicolon

Commas vs. Semicolons: Exercise 1

Semicolon (tutorial)

P4 Colons P4

Colon Rules

Semicolon and Colon

Punctuating Quotations: Colon

P5 Dashes P5

The Dash

When to Use the Dash

P6 Quotation Marks P6

Quotation Marks

Gallery of "Misused" Quotation Marks

P7 Apostrophes P7

The Apostrophe

Apostrophe Rules

Apostrophe Errors

Apostrophes: Exercise 1

Apostrophes: Exercise 2

Abused Apostrophes

P8 Parentheses P8

Parentheses (Darling)

Parentheses (tutorial)

P9 Brackets P9

Brackets (Darling)

Brackets (LEO)

P10 Ellipsis Marks


Ellipses (Darling)

Ellipses (LEO)

Punctuating Quotations: Ellipses

P11 Slashes P11

The Slash or Virgule

Slash Mark

P12 Periods



Period (scroll to "Period")

Punctuating Quotations: Period

P13 Question Marks P13

Question Marks

Punctuating Quotations: Question Mark

P14 Exclamation Points P14

Punctuating Quotations: Exclamation Point

The Exclamation Mark

Exclamation Point (tutorial)

ESL Trouble-
spots (L)
Exercise Central Resources

L1 Articles





A or An

The Use and Nonuse of Articles

L2 Verbs L2


Tenses in English

Summary of Verb Tenses

Subject-Verb Inversion

L3 Prepositions L3


English Online: Prepositions

Verbs and Prepositions

L4 Omitted or Repeated Words L4

To Search for Omitted Words

Tricks of the Trade

L5 Adjective Order L5 Position...
L6 Participles L6


Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers

Sentences (E)

Exercise Central Resources

E1 Missing Words











To Search for Omitted Words
E2 Shifts E2


Consistency of Tense and Pronoun Reference

Verbs and Verbals (scroll to "Tense" or "Mood")

Verbs (scroll to "Sequence of Tenses")

Revise Subject-Verb Mismatches

E3 Noun Agreement E3 Grammatical Number
E4 Modifiers E4

Modifier Placement

Problem Modifiers

Sentence Variety (scroll to "Resumptive and Summative Modifiers")

Sentence and Predicate Modifiers

E5 Mixed Construction E5

Sentence Variety

Sentence Clarity

E6 Integrated Quotations E6

Quotation (tutorial)

Uses of Reported Speech

Punctuating Quotations

"Quick and Dirty" Quoting and Documentation

Using Quotations (LEO)

Using Quotations (UToronto)

Some Vivid Verbs for Introducing Quotes and Paraphrases (Temple)

Integrating Sources into a Paper (outstanding)

E7 Parallelism E7

Parallelism (OTW)

Faulty Parallelism
E8 Coordination and subordination E8

Coordinating Conjunctions

Using Conjunctive Adverbs

Coordination and Subordination

Expanding the Basic Pattern

Embedded Thoughts (tutorial)



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