Language Primer: Basics of Grammar, Punctuation and Word Use (Custom Edition)


Welcome to the "Language Primer: Grammar, Punctuation and Word Use."

We've organized this course a little differently from most courses at NewsU. We've got four steps to help you learn more about the fundamentals of the English language:

Step 1: Essays

These readings by Roy Peter Clark and Merrill Perlman explore why the fundamentals matter and what you need to know to succeed as a writer — no matter what you do.

Step 2: Drills

Learn the fundamentals of different areas of punctuation and grammar, then use these practice quizzes to see what you know, what you don't know and how you can apply the rules. With each question, you'll not only see what you get right or wrong, you'll also learn why.

Step 3: Pretests

Pretests, where they are available, include extra study materials and will provide you with feedback on every question you answer. Pretests are currently only included at your university's request. To access any available pretests, please return to your university's Course Pack homepage.

Step 4: Assessments

These final exams test your overall knowledge of the three sections of the course: grammar, punctuation and word use. Each test will be administered individually and will include questions used in the Drills section of the course as well as questions that appear only in the assessments. You can take these exams at any time and in any order, and you have three chances to pass each test. To access the final exams, please return to your university's Course Pack homepage.

Our goal is to help you become a more confident writer, no matter what field you're studying or what profession you're in. At the end of the course, we hope you have a stronger sense of what you know, what you don't know and how to get the answers you need. We've added a Glossary and Resources section if you want to learn more or if you have a question about a grammar term or other thorny issue about language.

If you have questions or feedback, you can always reach us at