This category is last on the Rubric which indicates editing should be the last part of the writing process. "Grammar" and "usage" refer to the conventions of edited American English that relate to parts of speech in both writing and speaking. The use of verbs and their auxiliary forms, noun and pronoun forms, and adjective and adverb forms should conform, under most circumstances, to the accepted conventions. While it may be appropriate for someone to say "It don't make no difference" in a college dialogue, it usually would not be appropriate in the expository prose written for composition classes.
Mechanics indicates the conventions of spelling, punctuation, quotation, and capitalization of edited American English which are expected by most members of an educated American audience. Word omission or repetition and errors in manuscript form are also listed in this category. Because differences of opinion about the various conventions are inevitable, the Allyn & Bacon Handbook will serve as the grammar/usage/mechanics guide.
Below is a list of questions, divided into grammar/usage and mechanics sections, which may help in determining whether a work has control over usage and mechanics. The questions cover only the usual usage and mechanics conventions; see the Allyn & Bacon Handbook for a detailed explanation of each convention. Each item on the Rubric is followed by a number which corresponds to the appropriate section of Allyn & Bacon Handbook.
Nouns and Pronouns
Adjectives and Adverbs
- Several ideas occurred to me. They all frightened me. (Two complete sentences)
- Several ideas occurred to me, they all frightened me. (Comma splice)
If the answers to the above questions are positive or generally positive with only minor problems, then the work is passing in the grammar/usage/mechanics category. Four or five different errors in this category may indicate that the work is not passing.
Go to [AREA I] Audience
Go to [AREA II] Organization/Theme Structure
Go to [AREA III] Development
Go to [AREA IV] Sentence Structure
Go to [AREA V] Word Choice