Conventions of Composition

How To Use This Site

Welcome to our attempt at having much of the grammar and writing help you'll need all in one place. For grammar help (students) and marking student essays (teachers), there are three main ways you can use this site.

First, when you’re revising and editing your own work, you might have a question about how to cite a source or where to put a comma. In that case, use the search (magnifying glass icon in the top right corner) or look through the sections until you find the guideline you’re seeking. Each rule provides examples, practice, and resources for further instruction.

Second, when you get an essay back from your teacher, you will need to figure out what each mark/correction/suggestion means. To do that, you can go straight to the number you’re looking for.

Third, if you're a teacher who's tired of fixing the same errors over and over, you could use this site to mark student work. At any error, write the corresponding number. Your students can then use the site to understand how to avoid repeating that mistake. If you'd like a one-page list of the titles of all of the rules, please use the contact information below.

Of course, students, this guide doesn’t substitute for your interactions with your teacher. We designed this guide as a place to start, but if you’re still confused, ask.

The Hotchkiss English Department recognizes that this site is a work in progress. If you notice errors or omissions of any kind, please contact Carita Gardiner, Instructor in English.

Classification of Rules

Punctuation, Spelling, etc. (1-124)

Grammar (130-162)

Rhetoric (169-200)

Writing Tips (201-222)

Index of Rules

Punctuation Rules

1. Coordinating Conjunctions

2. Comma splices

3. Semicolons

4. Commas with Compounds

5. Long/inessential phrases

8. Appositive Noun Clauses

9. Adjective Clauses

11. Adverbial Clauses

16. Parentheticals

22. Essay Formatting

23. Title Formatting (Published)

24. Title Formatting (Student)

25. Capitalization

26. Words under Discussion

28. Appositives

37. Series

41. Colons

57. However

75. Quotation Formatting

76. Long Quotations

82. Vocative

83. Interjections

100. End Marks

106. Apostrophes

123. Numbers

124. Hyphens

Grammar Rules

130. Complete Sentences

131. Which/Who/That

133. Agreement – P-A

135. Agreement – S-V

137. Agreement – other

140. Pronoun Case

148. Possessives for Gerunds

149. Comparatives/Superlatives

150. Adjectives/Adverbs

151. Predicate Adjectives

152. Subjunctive

154. Verb Tense, Own Writing

155. Verb Tense, Fiction

Rhetoric Rules

162. Missing “as”

169. Pronoun Reference

170. Modifier Placement

177. Parallelism

178. Prepositions

179. Articles

188. Double Negatives

189. Mixed Metaphors

200. “Like”

Writing Tips

201. Quotation Integration

202. Referencing a Text

203. Evidence

204. To-be Verbs

205. “And”

206. First/Second Person

207. Passive Voice

209. Authorial Intent

210. Thesis Statement

211. Topic Sentences

212. Transitions

213. Conclusions

214. Paragraphing

215 Show Don’t Tell

216 Slang

217 Clichés

218 Qualifiers

219. Awkwardness

220. Confused Words

222. Repetition/Wordiness