Grammar and Punctuation: Paths Toward Clarity

Become more professional in writing or editing work reports, office emails, or a novel or memoir. Option 1 covers everything from comma rules to sentence structure; it's a great aid for business and creative writers seeking to hone their English usage. Work at your own pace and receive one-on-one feedback. Option 2 includes a critique of up to 2,000 words of your work.

At a glance

What: Grammar and Punctuation: Paths Toward Clarity

When: Start anytime, complete within 1 year

Where: Online

Cost: Option 1: 2.0 CEUs, $175 | Option 2: 3.0 CEUs, $200

Instructor: Noelle Rydell

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For additional information, contact Christine DeSmet: 608-262-3447

Does your boss or software flag too many mistakes in your writing? Are you tired of feeling uncertain about where to put apostrophes and commas? If you want to write more vivid and compelling prose, it's time to refresh your writing skills: grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure.

This online course helps you learn or re-learn grammar and punctuation in a step-by-step way. Each step is short, clear, and easy to follow. One step or concept builds upon another.

Become more confident in your written voice, and who knows? Maybe your new tools will get you a new job or promotion, or will hone your novel’s language to a new edge. Mastery of language is a powerful tool, one you’ll use in all aspects of your life.

For anyone who wants better writing skills

This course is for anyone who wants better writing skills – for work reports, emails, and creative work (novels, even poetry). It’s for both native English speakers and those who have a good foundation in English as a foreign language.

You can go through the course at your own pace with no deadlines. It’s conducted one-on-one via email and is confidential. Your instructor invites your questions and addresses your specific concerns.

What this course covers

This outline presents the structure of the course. Remember, you move at your own pace and have up to a year to finish it.


  • The whys and hows of learning English grammar
  • Levels of formality and Standard Written English (S.W.E.)
  • Grammar terminology
  • 25 common errors in written English

Part l. Stepping in: Basics

  1. Sentences: Subject and predicate
  2. Parts of speech
  3. Kinds of sentences
  4. Phrases, clauses, and fragments
  5. Person, number, case
  6. Matching nouns and verbs
  7. Exercises
  8. Quiz: self-test (No grades! Helps you see your own progress.)

Part 2. Pronouns: Small and Potent

  1. Eight kinds of pronouns
  2. Three kinds of personal pronouns
  3. Compound constructions: multiple-personality subjects
  4. Antecedents: find and match
  5. Gender anxiety
  6. That and Which, That and Who, Who and Whom
  7. Exercises
  8. Quiz: self-test

Part 3. Hooking Parts Together

  1. Prepositions: small and legion
  2. Conjunctions: hooks and ladders
  3. Phrases and clauses
    • Prepositional phrases
    • Verbal phrases
    • Independent clauses and coordination
    • Dependent clauses and subordination
  4. Restrictive and non-restrictive clauses
  5. Most common errors
  6. Quiz: self-test
  7. Exercises

Part 4. Describe and Modify

  1. Adjectives
  2. Adverbs
  3. Prepositions in description
  4. Ambiguity: Dangling, misplaced, and squinting modifiers
  5. Quiz: self-test
  6. Exercises

Part 5. The Secret Life of Verbs

  1. Tense: Dancing through time
  2. Voice: Active and passive
  3. Mood: Indicative, imperative, and subjunctive
  4. Subjunctive mood: Nuanced and powerful
  5. Quiz: self-test
  6. Exercises

Part 6. Punctuation: Easier than you Think

  1. Period
  2. Comma
  3. Semi-colon
  4. Colon
  5. Apostrophe
  6. Question mark
  7. Exclamation mark
  8. Dash
  9. Quotation marks
  10. Ellipsis
  11. British and American punctuation differences
  12. Most common errors
  13. Quiz: self-test
  14. Exercises

Contact: For more information about Grammar and Punctuation: Paths Toward Clarity, contact Christine DeSmet at or call 608-262-3447.

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