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Presentation on theme: "California State University Dominguez Hills FINDING AND FIXING COMMON GRAMMAR AND PUNCTUATION ERRORS."— Presentation transcript:


2 All workshops and workshop materials are the sole property of PEGS and cannot be published, copied, or disseminated without prior written approval from PEGS; they are for student and faculty use only. DISCLAIMER

3  5 stages:  Pre-writing (Think)  Drafting (Write)  Revising (Make it better)  Editing/Proofreading (Make it correct)  Publishing (Share it)  Focus on improving your content and expressing your ideas as clearly as possible before you worry about punctuation and grammar errors that do not confuse meaning. THE WRITING PROCESS

4  Before we go on, we will assume that your paper has been organized effectively and each paragraph revolves around one main idea.  This is an important concept in organization, but it will also help you identify grammar and punctuation errors within smaller, related chunks of text.  One paragraph: one idea. PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE

5  Using proper punctuation depends on an understanding of the difference between independent and dependent clauses.  An independent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought. An independent clause can stand alone as a sentence:  Suzie studied for her English exam in the coffee shop.  A dependent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb but does not express a complete thought. A dependent clause cannot be a sentence. Often, a dependent clause is marked by a dependent marker word:  When Suzie studied in the coffee shop for her English exam... (What happened when she studied? The thought is incomplete.) INDEPENDENT AND DEPENDENT CLAUSES

6  Some common dependent markers are:  after, although, as, as if, because, before, even if, even though, if, in order to, since, though, unless, until, whatever, when, whenever, whether, and while.  Knowing these dependent markers will help you identify dependent clauses. DEPENDENT MARKERS

7  Conjunctions come in several varieties:  Coordinating conjunctions  Correlative conjunctions  Subordinating conjunctions  Conjunctive adverbs  Conjunctions make connections and show relationships between words, phrases, clauses, and sentences. CONJUNCTIONS

8  For (reason)  And (addition)  Nor (“and not”)  But (shows contrast)  Or (option)  Yet (outcome)  So (result)  The FANBOYS are used to join independent clauses or “grammatically equivalent” elements like multiple nouns, multiple prepositional phrases, or multiple verb phrases. COORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS

9  Before we move on, it is important to differentiate between the two most common uses of the comma.  We can use the comma to separate items in a series:  I like apples, oranges, and plums.  Or we can use the comma with a conjunction to separate two independent clauses:  I like apples, and my mother likes plums.  We use a comma because I like apples and My mother likes plums are independent clauses and could stand alone as complete sentences. THE COMMA

10  The following items join “grammatically equivalent” elements:  I like oranges and bananas. (Two elements: no comma)  I like oranges, bananas, and strawberries. (Using three or more elements requires commas).  Discussion - The serial or “Oxford comma”  I like to play softball, tennis, and golf.  I like to play tennis, swim laps, and drink smoothies.  I don’t know if Suzie went to work, to school, or to the store.  Discussion: starting a sentence with a conjunction (a style choice).  It is not wise to start a sentence with a conjunction. And that is my final word on the subject. GROUPS OF ITEMS AND ITEMS IN A LIST

11  With words: I like apples, bananas, and oranges.  With –ing verbs: I like hiking, swimming, and bicycling.  With infinitive phrases: I like to hike, to swim, and to ride a bicycle.  Don’t mix forms!  INCORRECT: I like hiking, swimming, and to ride a bicycle.  With clauses:  INCORRECT: The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, that they should not eat too much, and to do some warm-up exercises before the game.  After a colon:  INCORRECT: The dictionary can be used for these purposes: to find word meanings, pronunciations, correct spellings, and looking up irregular verbs.  The same rules of parallelism also apply to bulleted lists! PARALLEL STRUCTURE

12 PARALLELISM ACTIVITY Parallel Whoops! Not parallel!

13  Correlative conjunctions work similarly to coordinating conjunctions; however, correlative conjunctions always work in pairs:  Neither…nor  Either…or  Not only…but also…  Whether…or  The instructor was not only dull, but also quite mean.  In addition, unlike traditional coordinating conjunctions, it is acceptable for one part of the pair to appear at the beginning of a sentence:  Neither Suzie nor her daughter are interested in playing board games with overzealous relatives. CORRELATIVE CONJUNCTIONS

14  Subordinating conjunctions are used in more complex sentences.  The subordinating conjunction has two jobs:  Provides a necessary transition between two ideas in the sentence.  Reduces the importance of one clause so that the reader knows which idea is more important.  Thus, the “less important idea” becomes the subordinate clause.  It helps to keep in mind the definition of subordinate: “of less importance; secondary; subservient or inferior.“ SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS


16  The most common subordinating conjunctions are: if, since, after, although, because, before, though, until, when, where, whether, which, while, who, and why.  Subordinating conjunctions appear at the beginning of an independent clause.  It introduces the subordinate/dependent clause.  Although Suzie loves her dogs, her sister does not care for pets.  Don’t forget to include a comma when using subordinating conjunctions. If you forget, your subordinate clause becomes a sentence fragment.  Example: Although Suzie loves her dogs. Her sister does not. SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS

17  There are a few more things you need to know about the comma:  Introductory bit  Small – Generally, dogs are loyal creatures.  Medium – Frankly speaking, dogs are better than cats.  Large – As far as I am concerned, dogs are far superior to cats.  Caution! Be careful with large introductory bits that include a dependent phrase.  Because he kept barking incessantly, we let the dog outside to play.  We let the dog outside to play because he kept barking incessantly.  Keep in mind that the clause listed first conveys importance in the sentence. If it is not more important, it is probably best to reverse the order of the clauses and eliminate the comma to avoid possible confusion. INTRODUCTORY BITS

18  If you have two or more adjectives (describers) that are not joined by a conjunction, put a comma between them.  He was a selfish, narcissistic guy.  Interrupters or “non-essential” information can be placed between two commas in the middle of a sentence.  The bank’s Vice President, Suzie Reilly, was a charming woman.  Suzie Reilly, the bank’s Vice President, was a charming woman.  Suzie looked toward the future, not the past, when implementing important changes at the bank. DESCRIBERS AND INTERRUPTERS

19  Before we discuss our final conjunction, the conjunctive adverb, it is helpful to discuss the most common use for the semi-colon.  The semi-colon can be used to connect two related independent clauses with no connecting words.  Related is the key word here.  It rained a lot this week; we managed to have a picnic anyway. (Related, but equal in importance.)  It is also used to separate items in a series that already have internal commas.  Genius consists of a carefully trained, highly polished ability; a thoughtfully educated, unbiased good taste; and a willingness to engage in and a persistence to do hard work. THE SEMI-COLON

20  The semi-colon can also be used to connect two related independent clauses using conjunctive adverbs.  It rained a lot this week; however, we managed to have a picnic anyway.  Unlike subordinating conjunctions, conjunctive adverbs do not make clauses dependent or subordinate.  This might make you consider why we need conjunctive adverbs at all, right? CONJUNCTIVE ADVERBS

21  While conjunctive adverbs can simply show contrast or indicate a result, they are most effectively used as transitions.  It rained a lot this afternoon; however, we managed to have a picnic anyway. We really needed to get the kids out of the house!  Along with however, other commonly used conjunctive adverbs are: also, consequently, finally, furthermore, meanwhile, nevertheless, next, still, therefore, and thus.  Don’t be fooled! Although is NOT a conjunctive adverb; it is a subordinating conjunction. CONJUNCTIVE ADVERBS

22 Coordinate it! Punctuate it! ACTIVITY!


24  ACTIVE: Subject – Verb – Object  Suzie ate the girl scout cookie.  The dog barked at the mailman.  A passive voice construction occurs when you make the object the subject of the sentence (Object – Verb – Subject)  The girl scout cookie was eaten by Suzie.  The mailman was barked at by the dog.  Here’s a more complex example:  When her house was invaded, Penelope had to think of ways to delay her remarriage.  Penelope had to think of ways to delay her remarriage when her house was invaded. ACTIVE AND PASSIVE VOICE

25  Vague – Who is responsible for the action?:  Both Othello and Iago desire Desdemona. She is courted.  (Who courts Desdemona? Othello? Iago? Both of them?)  Confusion – Who did what?  Research has been done to discredit this theory.  (Who did the research? You? Your professor? Another author?)  Hiding holes – What’s missing?  The telephone was invented in the nineteenth century.  (I couldn't find out who invented the telephone!)  Wordy and Indirect – Why make the reader work so hard?  Since the car was being driven by Michael at the time of the accident, the damages should be paid for by him.  Michael was driving the car at the time of the accident; he should pay for the damages. (Whew! That was easier!) WHEN TO AVOID PASSIVE VOICE

26  The subject is unknown:  The cave paintings of Lascaux were made in the Upper Old Stone Age.  (We don't know who made them.)  The subject is irrelevant:  An experimental solar power plant will be built in the Australian desert.  (We are not interested in who is building it.)  You want to be vague about who is responsible:  Mistakes were made.  (Common in bureaucratic writing!)  You are talking about a general truth:  Rules are made to be broken.  (By whomever, whenever. I’m bad to the bone, man!)  You want to emphasize the person or thing acted on. For example, it may be your main topic:  Insulin was first discovered in 1921 by researchers at the University of Toronto. It is still the only treatment available for diabetes.  Insulin is our topic, not the researchers at the University of Toronto.  You are writing in a scientific genre that traditionally relies on passive voice. Passive voice is often preferred in lab reports and scientific research papers, most notably in the Materials and Methods section:  The sodium hydroxide was dissolved in water. This solution was then titrated with hydrochloric acid.  There is a specific order here, and chemicals react upon one another in specific ways. WHEN TO USE PASSIVE VOICE

27  There is a formula for identifying the passive voice in your writing.  Forms of “to be” + past participle = passive voice HOW TO IDENTIFY THE PASSIVE VOICE SubjectCopula “to be”Past Participle (Usually –ed, except irregular forms) Object The kingishatedby the Queen Gazellesareeatenby lions Suziewaspursuedby Richard Wewereportrayed incorrectlyby the reporter

28  Need more help deciding whether a sentence is passive?  Ask yourself whether there is an action going on in the sentence.  If so, what is at the front of the sentence?  Is it the person or thing that does the action?  Is it the person or thing that has the action done to it? HOW TO IDENTIFY THE PASSIVE VOICE

29 Passive Voice Activity! ACTIVITY!

30  “That” indicates that the information is essential to understanding the meaning of the sentence.  Do not use a comma before “that”  It was a movie that changed the world of cinema forever.  “Which” indicates that the information is not crucial for understanding the meaning of the sentence.  Use a comma before “which”  The movie turned out to be a blockbuster hit, which came as a surprise to critics. RELATIVE CLAUSES: THAT VS. WHICH

31  Items after the colon expand on or clarify what came before the colon.  Only use colons after statements that are complete sentences.  In most cases, the items or information following the colon do not require capitalization.  The colon can often be used similarly to where you might expect an equal sign.  There is only one thing more important than money: love.  Suzie has two hobbies: painting and running.  They can be used to introduce or list.  I need three items from the bookstore: note cards, scantrons, and a binder.  The author suggests three approaches to increasing a child’s fluency: reacting calmly to stuttering, spending one-on-one time in child-directed play, and reducing stress in the child’s life. USING COLONS

32  Use parentheses around material that you want to de-emphasize or to surround something that seems a bit out of place in the sentence: an aside, a clarification, or some commentary.  Thirty-five years after his death, Robert Frost (we remember him at Kennedy's inauguration) remains America's favorite poet.  Thirty-five years after his death, Robert Frost remains America's favorite poet. (We remember him at Kennedy's inauguration.)  Periods go inside a parentheses only if an entire sentence is inside the parentheses.  Parentheses are also used to introduce an acronym  The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) believes that effective communication is a human right. ASHA also believes that communication should be accessible and achievable for all.  Dashes are used to emphasize strong statements; they are the opposite of parentheses – dashes are dramatic! USING PARENTHESES AND DASHES

33  Have you read the assigned short story, "Flowering Judas"?  No, but I did finally get around to reading last week's assignment, "Where Are They Now?“  "Diane," she said, "put the book down and go outside for a little while.“  According to Gocsik (2004), “some ESL writers come from countries that are not capitalist. In these countries, ideas are not owned, but shared” (p. 19).  According to Gocsik (2004), “some ESL writers come from countries that are not capitalist. In these countries, ideas are not owned, but shared” (p. 19); therefore, the concept of plagiarism may be completely foreign to some English language learners. USING QUOTATION MARKS

34  Foreign words  Don’t italicize if the word has assimilated into English.  You would not italicize a word like taco, but you would italicize a word like pan (which means “bread” in Spanish).  Emphasis  You can also use italics to emphasize certain words. This is a style choice, but use italics sparingly so that your reader knows what is really important. USING ITALICS

35  Its vs. it’s  If you’re unsure, remove the apostrophe and read the sentence using the full form of “it is.” Does it still make sense?  Dogs, dog’s, dogs’  I love dogs. (plural, meaning, more than one, or all dogs)  It is the dog’s toy. (possessive, singular, one dog)  It is the dogs’ toy. (possessive, plural, more than one dog)  That is Chris’ dog. (possessive, singular, ends in s). APOSTROPHES

36  Change the font style and size when editing, print out the document, and then read it out loud slowly.  Your brain has become accustomed to staring at this text on a screen; it also knows what you intended to write, and can trick your eyes into seeing your intentions – not what you actually wrote.  Allow your ears to do some editing for you. Our ears use an entirely different region of the brain to process language – this can help you find errors you would have missed by reading silently.  Whenever possible, allow some time to pass before editing. Even if it’s just an hour or two – walk away from the paper!  Do you know what your typical errors are? Make a list and look specifically for those problems in your paper.  If holistic editing feels overwhelming, focus on one area at a time (sentence structure/clarity  coordinators  punctuation) TIPS FOR SELF-EDITING

37  E-mail us at:  Call us at (310)243-2700 QUESTIONS?

38 Berry, C., & Brizee, A. (2010, April 17). Identifying independent and dependent clauses. Retrieved from Driscoll, D. L. (2013, March 22). Parallel structure. Retrieved from Simmons, R. (2013). The subordinate conjunction. Retrieved from Brizee, A., & Driscoll, D. (2013). Commas: Quick rules. Retrieved from Harris, R. (2010, October 14). Using semicolons. Retrieved from Corson, T., & Smollett, R. (n.d. ). Passive voice: When to use it and when to avoid it. Retrieved from and-editing/passive-voice Capital Community College Foundation. (n.d.). Parentheses. Retrieved from REFERENCES

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