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Writing and Study Skills Clinic Better Expression through Punctuation I: Commas versus Periods.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing and Study Skills Clinic Better Expression through Punctuation I: Commas versus Periods."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing and Study Skills Clinic Better Expression through Punctuation I: Commas versus Periods

2 Vantage Point: Conventions Meaning Style Building awareness and use

3 APA versus Chicago versus MLA Requirements of the field will vary by: ◦ Reference system most commonly employed ◦ Norms of published journals ◦ Needs of the materials:  What format best communicates the information based on the kinds of ideas or concepts most common to the field?  How much “extraneous” information, or how much detail, is needed to maintain flow and logical structure?

4 Meaning: Clarification through Careful Comma-ing… When in doubt, what makes it easiest for the reader to follow the flow? All punctuation (and capitals) are “eye- catchers” that allow to mind to almost automatically draw conclusions about what it sees. The main meanings conveyed by commas are: ◦ Keeps the focus on the main threads ◦ Chunks ideas that function as modifiers and/or as one concept ◦ Clarifies relationships and omissions

5 Back to basics: Mastering the Rules Most common rules at the sentence level: ◦ Independent versus dependent ◦ Adverbial modifiers ◦ Adjectival modifiers ◦ Appositives ◦ Participial modifiers

6 Examples Independent clauses (FANBOYS) ◦ I love chocolate, but it makes me sick. ◦ But I love chocolate so much.* Dependent clauses ◦ Although Shakespeare has been purported to be a woman, evidence is spotty at best. ◦ Abe Lincoln, who was president, died an untimely death.

7 More Examples Adverbial modifiers ◦ Dogs, however, don’t really know what they’re doing. Adjectival modifiers ◦ The fabulous, wonderful woman who married me will be coming home soon. Appositives ◦ Abe Lincoln, sixteenth US president, was my favorite of them all.

8 Yet More Examples Participial modifiers ◦ Having taken off his coat, my doctor sat down. ◦ My doctor sat down after having taken off his coat. ◦ The dog licked his master, having exhausted the areas of his own body to lick. ◦ The women cared about each other having gone through similar circumstances.

9 To Retain Meaning Keep the modifiers as close as possible to their referents. ◦ She looked out, who had never known love, and gazed upon the shallow pool in the glen upon which gleamed the sun. KNOW what you want to say! When in doubt, use the complete structure. ◦ We found that dogs tend to stay close to home, having lost their way numerous times.

10 Periods versus Commas Commas most often mark some transition or relationship. Periods are only bound by completeness of the thought. Periods must have minimum a subject and predicate to exist. They can offer self- contained thought. While periods are necessary, commas allow for more complex information to exist from period to period, and for thoughts to flow into and around each other.

11 Example: How does this feel?

12 Periods versus Commas Knowing how to manipulate ideas through good punctuation allows you to control expression more efficiently. A sentence more than two lines long needs to be broken down—but where shall we put the period? In the end, commas are dependent on not just the sentence itself, but what came before and what came after.

13 Periods, commas, and problems I fell. He threw the ball. It saves me having to type the same thing again. The results indicate _______________. Given the parameters of the project In the end Not only but also

14 Style: Building a Written Persona Being aware of the conventions at play as you read will inform how YOU write. Recognizing the other elements that affect punctuation use: ◦ Tone ◦ Purpose ◦ Flow and relationships Always use the main clause as your guide: KNOW what you want to focus on, and keep it central. Choose a role model.

15 Need some more support? ◦ Call to make an appointment:  ◦ Check out the complete list of our workshops:  On Facebook:  Cal State Fullerton Graduate Students  Grad Studies Website:   ULC Website: 


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