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Skills Exercises

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The skills exercises assigned in Karl Sherlock's English 098 course depend upon the lessons learned in the on-line resource, The Mind Of a Sentence (also available as a PDF download), and will test your understanding of parts of speech, grammar, sentence structure, mechanics, and punctuation. Scores will show you where you're doing well and where you may need to improve.

Hard copies of the individuals Skills Exercises will be handed out in advance of their due dates. (Consult the back of your printed syllabus or see the "Calendar of Due Dates" listed in the Course Outline for your section of English 098.) However, if you wish to practice or revise your answers, you may also download a password-protected PDF of each exercise, also available in advance of the due dates.

Completed and graded skill exercises constitute fifty percent of your course grade. Your ability to complete the skill exercises depends on your commitment to the assigned readings in the required on-line resource, The Mind Of a Sentence: A Parts Of Speech Handbook, as well as in your other course textbooks.


If you perform poorly on them, or you neglect to complete them, you're out of luck. We'll cover the answers in class, together. In order to provide you with opportunities to study and further test yourself, answers to skill exercises will not be made available on-line. If the questions confuse you (and some of them are expected to be confusing), come talk to me during my office hours.  Don't try to get the Writing Center tutors to answer the questions.  You're supposed to see your instructor about such matters.  That's how you learn and push yourself to understand more.

The following explanation about how exercises are graded is also available in your course syllabus:


Each skill exercise has a different number of questions, but, regardless of the maximum point value on any particular exercise, only a single flat percentage grade will be recorded. To calculate your score on your own, do the following.

    1. Take your final score on your exercise; this is the number of questions you answered correctly.

    2. Divide it by the maximum number of correct answers possible; this is the percentage you scored on that particular exercise.

    3. Then, multiply that by 5; this converts the score on your exercise into the number of points it contributes toward your overall course grade.

That's your score of record. For example, the "Pronouns Exercise" carries a maximum value of 55 points.

  • If you correctly answered 30 out of 55 questions, then...

  • 54% of your answers was correct. Every exercise is worth 5 points, so ...

  • 54% of 5 points (5.00 x 0.54) equals 2.70.

  • "2.7" is then the official score entered into my grade roster for that exercise.

Here's a larger sample of grades to illustrate.

The following are fictional scores. The range of failures and successes has been exaggerated to show you how the grades are calculated, but they're not intended to reflect the actual difficulty or ease of any of the exercises.

Max Pts.
Q’s Correct = %
score of record (max 5.0) 
Basic Parts of Speech 25 pts. 18 / 25 = 72% 3.6
Pronouns 55 pts. 34 / 55 = 62% 3.1
Verbs and Verbals 55 pts. 22 / 55 = 40% 2.0
Sentence Boundary Errors 30 pts. 13 / 30 = 37% 2.2
Internal Punctuation 25 pts. 18 / 25 = 72% 3.6
14.5 (out of 25)
58 %

If you maintain a cumulative score of 75 percent or better on five skills exams, you may choose an exemption from having to take the final exam in the course. Instead, your final exam score will be equal to the cumulative score earned on the skills exercises. Exemption isn't mandatory; you may still take the final examination even if you get 100% on all the exercises. However, you can only take the exemption before the final examination date. You can't come to the final exam, look it over, and say, I'll take my exemption instead," nor can you retroactively opt out and take the exemption if you think you performed poorly on the exam.

Open the accordion files below to download a password-protected PDF exercise. Print and complete it by the assignment due date. (Consult this website's course outline for your section, or look to the back of your printed syllabus for due dates.) Exercises will be available as they became assigned. Opening a PDF requires the password printed on the inside cover of the printed syllabus (given to you during the first two weeks of the course). If you have mislaid the password or the syllabus, contact your instructor by e-mail:

ALL PDFs require the course password to open and will be available in the order they are assigned.

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Quiz 1: Eight Basic Parts of Speech
Quiz 2: Pronouns Types and Pronoun Errors
Quiz 3: Verbs and Verbals
Quiz 4: Sentence Boundary Errors
Diagramming Exercises PDF password protected

Sentence Boundary Errors

(Run-Ons and Fragments)

Quiz 5: Internal Punctuation
Diagramming Exercises PDF password protected

Internal Punctuation and Quotations

(Commas, Markers, Dashes, Ellipsis, Etc.)

Last Updated: 04/11/2016
  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
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