Friday Fundamentals: Copula Spiders


I admit that I really enjoy teaching writing; therefore, I tend to read about writing quite a bit as well.

When I came across Attack of the Copula Spiders: Essays on Writing by Douglas Glover, I had to read it. It is, in short, about how to write a novel. I’ve not finished the book yet, and I admit to skipping ahead to the chapter on copula spiders (page 43, if you’re interested in that sort of thing). So, that’s where we’re going today.

Turn with me in your books to page 43.


Today’s post will be my thoughts on reading about spiders.

Not that kind of spider! This kind of spider!

I posted this image on Facebook not too long ago and got quite a few different reactions, so I’d like to test it here and see if the results are […]

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Modifiers of the Verb Part Four: Clauses

So far we’ve seen three different grammatical ways to modify the verb: single word adverbs; prepositional phrases; and verb phrases. Now, we’ll look at clauses.

A clause is a group of words with a subject and a predicate.[1]

So, a sentence is a clause.

However, not all clauses are sentences.

There are two main types of clauses: independent clauses, also known as main clauses, and dependent clauses, also known as subordinate clauses. An independent clause stands on its own as a sentence. A dependent clause does not. A dependent clause is marked by a subordinating conjunction: a word that signals for the reader that the coming clause depends on the main clause.

An example: Everyone cheered for Bob when he won the award.

The subject of the sentence is everyone.

The main verb is cheered.

Everyone cheered for Bob is an independent clause. So is he won the award. But […]

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Verb Modifiers: Prepositional Phrases

Verb Modifiers: Prepositional Phrases

Today I’m going to discuss one of the most common modifiers in the English language: prepositional phrases. (Quick definition: a phrase is a word or group of words that functions as a unit in a sentence.[1])

A prepositional phrase is made of up two parts: a preposition and a noun or noun phrase.

Some common singe-word prepositions:

Above Across At Behind Below By Down For From In Into Like Near Of On Off Over Sine Through To Until Up Upon With Within

There are lots and lots more.

There are also two and three-word prepositions

According to As for Because of Next to Except for Thanks to Up to In accordance with In case of In charge of In lieu of In search of In spite of On account of On behalf of


Prepositional phrases (the word preposition comes from the fact that the words […]

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Verb Tense: how to say when we mean Part II

Verb forms, Part II: The Passive Voice

A month ago I discussed the passive voice. Passive voice shifts the focus of the sentence from the actor to the recipient of the action.

Two weeks ago, I discussed the formation of the various tenses in English and the convenient formula that will give them to you. For active voice, just as a reminder, our formula:


T (M) (have + -en) (be + -ing) MV


Tense, modal auxiliary, have + the past participle, be + the present participle, and the Main Verb. Everything in parenthesis is optional, allowing us to create all the versions—past, present, and future—that English uses.

The passive includes one more addition to the formula.

A brief refresher:


Active: Tommy hit the ball.

Passive: The ball was hit (by Tommy).


We don’t need the “by Tommy” in the passive sentence to make the sentence grammatically […]

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Verb Tense: how to say when we mean Part I

Today I’m going to continue my discussion of verbs—those wonderful little words of action—by discussing verb tense and the “expansion” of verb forms. Warning: at a point later on in this post, you will see things that look like math. Do not be alarmed. It is still writing—still grammar. If you *like* math, then you’re all set. If you don’t like math, just hold on. It’s worth it. Trust me.

So. In English, unlike in, say, romance languages (Spanish and French, for example), we have only 2 tenses: past and present.

“But wait!” you say. “I speak about the future all the time, too!”

Yes. We have the present, present progressive, past, past progressive, present perfect, past perfect, present perfect progressive, past perfect progressive, future, and future perfect.


But in terms of grammar, in terms of changing the spelling of a word to denote a change in tense, we […]

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