The Editor's Manual
Grammar, usage, punctuation, and style resource for editors, writers, and learners of the English language.
Various grammatical forms can function as the subject in a sentence. The subject can be a noun phrase, a noun clause, or a prepositional phrase.
Words like “pope,” “bishop,” “rabbi,” “reverend,” and “father” are capitalized as religious titles before a name but lowercased as common nouns.
A compound subject is made up of two or more subjects that share the same predicate (“The dog and the cat sat on the rug”). Use pronouns and verbs correctly with compound subjects.
Anticipatory reference occurs when a pronoun appears before its antecedent, or the person or thing it refers to, in a sentence (“When she can, Rita runs marathons”).
The subject is the person or thing performing an action, or whom or what a state or event refers to. Subjects may be simple or complete, and compound. They may also be definite and indefinite, fake and real, empty, and implied.
An adjective is used to describe a person or a thing. It may denote a property, quality, or state, or help classify a noun.
Avoid using an apostrophe before the “s” in a plural, unless not using one would result in confusion (e.g., two “i’s” in “iridescent”).
Form the possessive of a name ending in “s” by adding an apostrophe and another “s” or by simply adding an apostrophe. The possessive of a plural name takes an apostrophe after the final “s” (“the Harrises’ home”).
Collective nouns like “team,” “government,” “family,” and “committee” are generally treated as singular in American English but plural in British English. It also depends on whether you want to refer to the group as a whole or to the individual members of the group.
Regular plurals are formed by adding “-s,” “-es,” or “-ies” to the singular (“girls,” “viruses,” “duties”). Irregular plurals also often follow a pattern, originating sometimes in the parent language or rules of older forms of English (e.g., “children,” “criteria,” “mice”).