English Option III: English Subject Matter

Guidelines for the Basic Syntax, Grammar, and Written Usage Diagnostic

General Instructions: These guidelines will assist you in preparing for the Basic Syntax, Grammar, and Written Usage Diagnostic. This Diagnostic is aimed to help you to evaluate and diagnose your knowledge in the areas of grammar, written conventions, and standard usage. Please contact the Subject Matter Adviser or Subject Matter Secretary when you are ready to take the Diagnostic.

The Diagnostic has four sections. You should be able to identify the items in Sections I-III and then be able to apply this knowledge in Section IV.

Section OneSection TwoSection ThreeSection Four
  • Noun

  • Verb

  • Adjective

  • Adverb

  • Preposition

  • Determiner

  • Possessive Pronoun

  • Pronoun

  • Infinitive Marker

  • Simple Sentence

  • Compound Sentence

  • Complex Sentence

  • Compound/Complex Sentence

  • Dependent (Subordinate) Clause

  • Independent Clause

  • Fragment

  • Run-On

  • Subject/Verb Agreement

  • Dangling Modifier

  • Misplaced Modifier

  • Parallelism

  • Passive Voice

  • Pronoun Agreement

  • Faulty Pronoun Case

  • Application of this knowledge to the editing of sentences


The following resources will assist you in preparing for this assessment:

Web Resources

Text Resources:

  • Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, A Student’s Guide to English Grammar (Cambridge University Press, 2005).

  • James R. Hurford, Grammar: A Student’s Guide (Cambridge University Press, 1994).

  • Penelope Choy and Dorothy Goldbart Clark, Basic Grammar and Usage, 7th edn (Heinle, 2005). Older editions are acceptable. This text is available on reserve from Karin Castillo in Sierra Tower 707.