This chapter covers sentence structure and how the parts of speech known as content words—verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs—work in sentences. Understanding how they work requires a knowledge of syntax and grammar. Grammar is the underlying system of rules of a language. Studying what’s acceptable in grammar (Standard English) and what’s not acceptable (non-standard English) can contribute valuably to a writer’s confidence and competence. Syntax describes the way in which words relate to one another in a sentence, the logical interrelations among words—in other words, the structure of the sentence.

This chapter provides a rationale for learning grammar and a variety of sentence types that will turn intuitive, tacit knowledge into explicit knowhow. Grounding writing in grammar pays off hugely in enhancing writing quality.