Elizabeth O'Brien

Hello! I'm Elizabeth O'Brien, and my goal is to get you jazzed about grammar. 

Standard English & Proper Grammar

Why should you learn to use proper grammar?

People judge you based on how you write and speak. Taking the time to follow the rules of Standard English in your formal writing and speech allows you to present yourself in the best possible light.

Grammar Girl says, "The quality of your writing often has a huge influence on the first impression you make on people." On this page, you'll find lessons and tips that will help you use proper grammar. It's kind of a grab bag of topics, but I think they'll help you.

You can learn more about what Standard English is and how it impacts our lives by watching our documentary on grammar and grammar education. Here's some of our extra footage with Steven Pinker.

Proper Grammar Topics On This Page

What's the difference between awhile and a while? I'll teach you!

Click here to watch the video lesson.

Awhile vs A While video
capitalization rules

Learn some of the nitty-gritty about capitalization.

I've shortened this list to six main rules and a few sub-rules.

Learn more about the capitalization rules here.

compound possessives

Where does the apostrophe go when you are forming compound possessives? Which are correct?

  • Jim and my cat is cute. 
  • Jim and my's cat is cute. 
  • Jim's and my cat is cute. 
  • David and Elizabeth's car is blue. 
  • David's and Elizabeth's car is blue.

Learn more about forming compound possessives (nouns and possessive pronouns) here!

People often mistake the word everyday for the phrase every day.

Have you ever made this grammar mistake? The rule is fairly easy to grasp. Read the lesson and take the quiz!

Learn more about this common grammar mistake.

everyday or every day

These things drive me up the wall. I'm just kidding. Actually, I really enjoy learning about idioms. Idioms are groups of words which have meanings that are not literal.

Drives me up the wall = Makes me crazy

While they are fun to learn about, they can be difficult to grasp, particularly for people learning English as a second language.

Learn more about idiomatic expressions here.

Proverbs are similar to idioms. Learn about English proverbs here.

idiomatic expressions - It's raining cats and dogs!

Here are seven of the most common grammar pet peeves. Are any of these on your list?

Find out these seven grammar pet peeves here.

grammar mistakes

Do you know what a misplaced modifier is? Today is your day to learn about these guys! 

Learn more about misplaced modifiers here.

Misplaced modifiers

Many people misuse the word myself. Here are two examples. 

Carl and myself ate lunch. --> Incorrect

Mike cooked lunch for Carl and myself. --> Incorrect

Learn more about how to use myself correctly.

Video on using the pronoun MYSELF

What the heck does this mean? How can sentences have voices?

Voice refers to whether the subject is performing the action or receiving the action of a verb.

How do you write these and which should you use? I'll teach you!

Learn more about active and passive voice here.

Phrasal verbs

We use phrasal verbs all of the time, but many people don't know what they are. Do you?

Learn more about phrasal verbs here!

English punctuation baffles many of us.

When do we use a semicolon or a colon?

How about that always mystifying apostrophe?

What is a comma splice?

See the punctuation rules page for a guide to help you punctuate better!

Or check out the page on the lovely exclamation mark, the party animal of punctuation.

What does it mean for a subject and a verb to agree?

It refers to the number of the subject and the verb.

Learn more about subject verb agreement here.

subject verb agreement

Learn a few tricks that will help you remember these commonly confused words! 

Read more and see the video here.

Video on the commonly confused words

Learn how to find the subject in sentences that begin with There is and There are.

Read more about there is & there are here.

There is no place like home. What is the subject of that sentence?

Do you usually use try to or try and? Did you know that this can be a controversial grammar topic?

Read more about try to vs. try and here.

Try To video

Learn why would of, could of, and should of is incorrect.

Would of, could of, should of video

Many people have a hard time knowing when to use which word. I'll teach you how you can figure it out, and I'll also teach you a little trick that will make it easy.

Read more about who vs whom here.


Are You An ESL Learner?

Are you an ESL learner? Diana from Helping You Learn English has lots of great information to help you, including an ESL Cafe where you can meet people, share stories, and learn English.

Elizabeth O'Brien from Grammar Revolution

If you don't want to teach or learn grammar by yourself, click here to see how I can help you.

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    Yesterday, my son said, "Verbs are my favorite parts of speech." I think it's an indication of a successful grammar program when a child can pick his favorite part of speech. Yeah!

    - Mary, Homeschooler

    If you want to teach or learn grammar the easy way, follow our step-by-step program that clearly lays everything out and allows you to move at your own pace. The Get Smart Grammar Program is presented in a logical sequence, so it's not an overwhelming mishmash of information. Just watch the videos and complete your assignments. Before you know it, you'll be a grammar and sentence diagramming pro!

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    Elizabeth O'Brien

    Elizabeth O'Brien is the creator of Grammar Revolution.

    Her lessons are guaranteed to give you more confidence in your communication skills and make you smile. :)

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