WHATS THE RULE?
Conventions for Clear and Grammatical Standard Written English
by Jinx Roosevelt
Metropolitan College of New York

  WRONG RIGHT WHAT'S THE "RULE"?
1
She is a person that never sleeps. She is a person who never sleeps.
New York is a city that never sleeps.
Use "that" when referring to things; use "who" when referring to human beings.
2
There was a large amount of ice cubes in the bowl. There was a large number of ice cubes in the bowl.
or
There was a large amount of water in the bowl.
Use "number" when referring to a quantity of discrete objects that can be counted; use "amount" when referring to substances that cannot be counted.
3
My sister work out every day. She and her daughter plans to run in the marathon. My sister works out every day. She and her daughter plan to run in the marathon. Verbs must agree with their subjects. Generally in English the singular or "he, she, or it" form of present tense verbs ends in "s" while the plural or "they" form of the verb has no special ending.
4
Somebody is forgetting their book. Somebody is forgetting his or her book. Pronouns must agree with the nouns they refer to. "Somebody" is singular (we say somebody is, not somebody are) and thus the pronoun must be singular also.
5
The citizens are gaining self- esteem, they often talk about going back to school. The citizens are gaining self- esteem. They often talk about going back to school.
or
The citizens are gaining self-esteem; they often talk about going back to school.
or
The citizens are gaining self- esteem, and they often talk about going back to school.
Independent clauses that can stand alone as sentences should be separated by a period, a semicolon, or a comma and conjunction. They cannot be simply "spliced" together by a comma. (The error is called a "comma splice" and is the most common error in college writing.)
6
My CA document is almost finished soon I will be able to relax. My CA document is almost finished. Soon I will be able to relax.
or
My CA document is almost finished; soon I will be able to relax.
or
My CA document is almost finished, so soon I will be able to relax.
Independent clauses that can stand alone as sentences should be separated by a period, a semicolon, or a comma and conjunction. They can not be simply "fused" together with no punctuation. (The error is called a "fused" sentence or a "run-on" sentence.)
7
At MCNY you can get your degree in less than three years. Which I appreciate since I plan to go on to graduate school. At MCNY you can get your degree in less than three years, which I appreciate since I plan to go on to graduate school. Avoid sentence "fragments" by writing in complete sentences. Complete sentences contain a subject and a verb and express a complete thought.
8
The student's respect the colleges values, and the college respects the students values. The students respect the college's values, and the college respects the students' values. Use plain "s" to form the plural of nouns and apostrophe "s" to form the possessive of nouns. Use "s" apostrophe to form the plural possessive of nouns.
9
The computer's hard drive worked fine, but it's monitor was completely dead. The computer's hard drive worked fine, but its monitor was completely dead.

It's working fine now.
Do not use apostrophe "s" for the possessive of "it." Use "it's" only for the contraction of "it is."
10
Horace Mann (1957) referred to education as the balance wheel of the social machinery. Horace Mann (1957) referred to education as "the balance wheel of the social machinery" (p.87).
(or, if the author's name is not mentioned in the text)
Education has been referred to as "the balance wheel of the social machinery" (Mann, 1957, p. 87).
Put quotation marks around all words that are not your own, and include a page number after the quote. (Failure to do so violates the ethics of academic life.)
11
According to Rousseau (1999), "All wickedness comes from weakness. . . . Make [the child] strong and he will be good." (p. 9) According to Rousseau (1999), "All wickedness comes from weakness. . . . Make [the child] strong and he will be good" (p. 9). Periods must be placed after the parenthetical citation.(Use ellipses to indicate omitted words and brackets to indicate changed words.)
12
Molefi Kete Asante argues that Eurocentrism "imposes Eurocentric realities as "universal"; i.e., that which is White is presented as applying to the human condition in general" (Noll, 1999, p. 244). Molefi Kete Asante argues that Eurocentrism "imposes Eurocentric realities as 'universal'; i.e., that which is White is presented as applying to the human condition in general" (Noll, 1999, p. 244). Quotes within quotes need only single quotation marks.
13
In McKay's book "Messages" the chapter on Expressing was somewhat problematical. In McKay's book Messages the chapter on "Expressing" was somewhat problematical. Titles of books (and journals) must be underlined or italicized; titles of chapters (and articles) belong in quotes.