In order to complete any assignment successfully, reading the instructions provided by the tutor is an important and indispensable first step. The tutor’s instructions serve as a central point in guiding the completion of an assignment, but these must also be supplemented by one’s own understanding of expected grammar and formatting standards. This is a guide that can be useful in ensuring that the completed assignment adheres to the expected grammar and formatting standards.
- Spelling: Many words have similar pronunciations but different spellings including accept and except, affect and effect, advice and advise, conscious and conscience, ideal and ideal, its and it’s, lead and led, than and then, there, their and they’re, too, to and two, where, we’re and were, and your and you’re. Care should be taken not to confuse these words because, although their pronunciation is similar, the wring spelling changes the meaning of the sentence.
- Writing Numbers: In writing, numbers are usually spelt out instead of using numerals; numbers like identification numbers, parts of addresses, play and book divisions and pages, and large numbers need not be spelt out and can be written in figures. While using figures or spelling out numbers is usually at the authors discretion, the recommendation is that numbers up to 10 should be spelt out while numbers eleven and above should be written in figures.
- Adjectives and Adverbs: Adjectives describe nouns by answering questions on the type, kind and number of the noun in question while adverbs modify adjectives, verbs and other adverbs by answering the questions how, where, when and why.
- Appositives: Appositives are nouns or pronouns used with other nouns or pronouns to identify or explain them. Appositives are usually used with modifiers and require a comma before and after if the sentence can be complete without them.
- Articles: With the exception of u when pronounced as y, o when pronounced as w and h that is not pronounced, the article a and an is always used with the singular version of countable nouns that start with a consonant and vowel respectively. Examples of words that do not obey the article rule include honest, honorable, unicorn, one-legged girl, united front, union and used car among others.
- Prepositions: Prepositions are used to describe points in time, spatial location and introducing verb objects. Examples of prepositions include on, at, in, since, from, until, inside, over, above, under, underneath, beneath, below, among, between, opposite, of and about.
- Pronouns: Pronouns are used instead of nouns to avoid repetition, and their correct use need number agreement, person agreement, and the noun to which they refer needs to be clear. Examples of pronouns include she, he, it, me, us, him, her, them, you, we, I and they.
- Relative Pronouns: Pronouns like that, who, whom, which, whose, where, when and why are used in defining clauses and should be used correctly in sentences in subject, object or possessive forms to refer to people, things, place, time and explanation.
- Countable and Uncountable Nouns: Adjectives like much and little modify uncountable nouns, few and many modify countable nouns, and any and some modify both types of nouns. Countable nouns are words that describe items that can be counted like buildings or animals while uncountable nouns are those that describe items that do not occur as countable individual objects.
- Subject and Verb Agreement: A singular or plural noun should always be accompanied by a verb that is respectively singular or plural, with careful consideration being paid not to be confused by connectors like and, or and nor.
- Tenses: The tense used in an assignment including perfect, simple or progressive present, past and future tenses is usually determined by the type of assignment, but the tense used should be consistent throughout the paper.
While aspects of formatting a document are sometimes specified in assignment instructions, there are general guidelines for paragraph format, spacing, title pages and titles. The preferred font type for all documents is times new roman with a font size of 12 point; this font size and type makes it easier to read. Font sizes and types should not be mixed, except when using different fonts for titles and headings. At the start of each paper, a title page should be included based on formatting guidelines given in the citation and formatting style chosen from APA, MLA, Harvard, Vancouver and Chicago among others. In addition, headings should be used for most assignment types to act as a guide for the reader to make it easier to follow the arrangement of the assignment.