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Grammar Tips For Kids

By Expert Author: David Parker

Learning grammar is boring. But, knowing correct grammar improves writing, speaking, and communicating. Studies show that as younger generations become more comfortable with e-mail and texting, that they become less concerned with correct grammar, punctuation and spelling. These bad habits can easily be improved however with these easy tips.
Capitalization. Always capitalize the first word of every sentence and every question. Always. Also, capitalize proper names. For instance, capitalize the names of people, the pronoun "I," as well as names of countries, states and cities. If it's something specific, it should be capitalized. For example, the word restaurant doesn't need to be capitalized, but the name of the restaurant, McDonald's, is always capitalized.
Punctuation. Every sentence should end with a period. Every question should end with a question mark. Of course, you can end sentences with exclamation points, but this is rare. You should only use exclamation marks if you're trying to indicate extreme excitement. For example, Yippee!!
Commas, semi-colons and colons. When in doubt, leave it out. Most people, whether they're grown-ups or kids, don't know how to use colons and semi-colons correctly. Unless you're absolutely certain you're using it correctly, don't bother. Using them incorrectly will make your writing confusing and sloppy. However, rewriting your sentences so you don't need them will make your writing more clear.
In general, kids should probably only use commas when putting together lists in a sentence. Consider the following sentence and the use of commas. "I painted my room and used red, blue, yellow and purple paint. "
Paragraphs. In general, the beginning of paragraphs should be indented 5 spaces. If you're writing a paragraph using paper and pencil, be sure to put your index finger on the paper where you want the paragraph to begin and start the first word of the first sentence of the paragraph to the right of your index finger. All following lines should start to the left of that finger.
If you're using a computer or word processor to write something, be sure to hit the "tab" key for the beginning of every paragraph, and the program will indent it for you. Or you can hit the space bar 5 times or 5 spaces to indent the sentence.
Apostrophes. Apostrophes, in general, have two purposes. First, they help make contractions. For example, the word that's" is a contraction of "that is." You have to have the apostrophe to show that you've joined two words together. Consider the following contractions: can't, won't, don't, isn't.
Apostrophes also show possession. When you want to show that something belongs to someone or something, add an apostrophe and an "s" to the owner's name. For example, Bob's car. Or, the car's headlights.
The one exception to this rule is the word "its." You can't add an apostrophe to "its" to show possession because then it becomes a contraction of "it is." If you're confused whether you should use "its" or "it's," read the sentence aloud. If you can say "it is" instead and have it make sense, then you need to use "it's." If you can't, then use "its."
These are just a few grammar tips for kids. Following these tips will help kids, and adults, improve their writing.

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