A Mini-workshop to Teach SSS Participants Methods for eliminating or correcting sentence fragments and run-ons Please right click the computer mouse or Use the right and left arrow keys to go forward or backward through the slides. An assessment will be conducted at the end of this PowerPoint. Student Support Services (SSS) ~ Troy University (main campus)
Right Click for Each of the Seven Workshop Objectives
Define the term “complete sentence.” Define the term “verbals” and show ways to correctly use them. Identify and dispel some sentence-related MYTHS. Point out two pains -- Fragments and Run-ons. Offer tips for correcting run-ons and fragments. Provide practice exercises and an opportunity to test comprehension. Provide supplemental study materials.
A “Complete Sentence” . . . must have one full independent clause.
must be comprehensible (clear). Remember this little equation: Independent Clause = Subject + Verb
Examples of very simple,
A “Complete Sentence” . . . Examples of very simple, but complete sentences: (1) Talk! Why is this a complete sentence? Because the implied subject is either you, someone, anyone, or everyone. (2) John talks. Remember the Equation? Independent Clause = Subject + Verb
Is this a “Complete Sentence”? No way.
#1. John talking. Present participle = verb + - ing Talking John. (Talking is acting as an adjective for John.) Talking and to talk are used as verbals: a verbal is a form of a verb functioning as another part of speech.
Is this a “Complete Sentence”?
#2. John to talk. Infinitive = to + verb An Infinitive is a type of Verbal. To talk is a verbal infinitive that is functioning as an Adjective. To talk answers the question, “which John are you talking about?”. Answer: The John (or the person) who is supposed to talk
Correctly Using Verbals
Possible Corrections: John is talking. (Add a helping or linking verb.) John is to talk. (Add a “TO BE” verb.) John enjoys talking. John has been invited to talk. John volunteers to talk. (Add a verb.) John will talk to his plants. (Eliminate the infinitive.) John talks too much. (Change the verbal to a verb.)
Review the Study Materials Handout.
Take a moment to look over the “To be” Verbs handout. You will need to learn these verbs and their pronoun partners. Study them and learn to recite them. Learning “to be” verbs will help you write clearer sentences and will keep you from falling into that mythical “verbals” pit.
Why Are We Afraid to “Complete Sentences”?
Because We Believe the Myths and Become Dependent on Myths . A myth is a learned belief or response to anxiety. Myths are not facts.
Myths About Sentences Myth: Never start a sentence with and or but.
Fact: There is no such grammatical rule. A full sentence starting with and or but is a legitimate sentence. However, such usage may not appeal stylistically to your reading audience.
Sentence Myths (cont.) Myth: Keep your sentences extremely simple.
Often complex thoughts demand complex sentences. At college level, you are writing for readers who can handle complex sentences, if the sentences are clearly written. However, (1) do not compromise clarity or (2) risk wordiness in order to create a complex sentence. Edit your sentences by eliminating unnecessary words and by rephrasing sentences so the subject is up front , at the beginning of the sentence.
Sentence Myths (cont.) Correction: A good way to spot unnecessarily long sentences is to skim for sentences that begin with There is, There are, and It is. Example: There is a giant leak in the roof.
Sentence Myths (cont.) Revisions: The roof has a giant leak.
Consider rephrasing the sentence, beginning with the subject of the sentence so you can edit out the there is. Revisions: The roof has a giant leak. The roof leaks badly. If the sentence sounds more direct and to the point use the new version. If you want to slow the reader down a little, use the original.
Two Agitating Pains . . . Fragments and Run-ons . . .
What Is A Fragment? Fragments are groups of words that do not form a complete thought or a complete sentence. ~ Fragments sometimes occur because the subject or the verb, or even part of the verb, is missing.
Fragments (cont.) Example of fragment: The large dog with huge paws.
- Dog is the simple subject, but there is no verb to show the action. Corrected sentence: The large dog with the huge paws jumped over the fence. Note: Articles, Adverbs and Prepositional Phrases add clarity and detail.
Fragments (cont.) In the corrected sentence, dog is the subject, and jumped is the verb. Together, the words form a complete thought; therefore, the example is a complete sentence. The large dog with the huge paws jumped over the fence.
Sentence Fragments Practice Exercise
These sentences appeared in papers written by college students. Indicate fragments and suggest corrections. ____ 1. Then I attended Morris Junior High. A junior high that was a bad experience. ____ 2. The scene was filled with beauty. Such as the sun sending its brilliant rays to the earth and the leaves of various shades of red, yellow, and brown moving slowly in the wind. ____ 3. He talked for fifty minutes without taking his eyes off his notes. Like other teachers in that department, he did not encourage students' questions. ____ 4. Within each group, a wide range of features to choose from. It was difficult to distinguish between them. ____ 5. A few of the less serious fellows went into a bar for a steak dinner and a few glasses of beer. After eating and drinking, they were ready for anything.
Sentence Fragments Practice Exercise (cont.)
____6. It can be really embarrassing to be so emotional. Especially when you are on your first date, you feel that you should be in control. ____ 7. The magazine has a reputation for a sophisticated, prestigious, and elite group of readers. Although that is a value judgment and in circumstances not a true premise. ____ 8. In the seventh grade every young boy goes out for football. To prove to himself and his parents that he is a man. ____ 9. She opened the door and let us into her home. Not realizing at the time that we would never enter that door in her home again. ____10. As Christmas draws near, I find myself looking back into my childhood days at fun-filled times of snowball fights. To think about this makes me happy.
What is a Run-on Sentence?
A RUN-ON SENTENCE (sometimes called a "fused sentence") has at least two parts, either one of which can stand by itself (in other words, two independent clauses) The problem is that the two parts have been incorrectly linked instead of being properly connected.
Run-on Sentences Comma Splices (a type of Run-on)
A comma splice is the use of a comma between two independent clauses. You can usually fix the error by changing the comma to a period, which makes the two clauses into two separate sentences. You can also change the comma to a semicolon (;), or making one clause dependent by inserting a dependent marker word in front of it.
Run-on Sentences -- Examples
Error: A comma splice Incorrect I like this class, it is very interesting. Correct Options I like this class. It is very interesting. (or) I like this class; it is very interesting. (or) I like this class because it is very interesting. (or) Because it is very interesting, I like this class
Run-on sentences Error: Fused Sentences (a type of run-on) Incorrect
My professor is intelligent I've learned a lot from her. Correct Options My professor is intelligent. I've learned a lot from her. (or) My professor is intelligent; I've learned a lot from her. (or) My professor is intelligent and I have learned a lot from her. (or) My professor is intelligent; moreover, I've learned a lot from her.
Run-on Sentences Examples
Error: Fused Sentences Fused sentences happen when there are two independent clauses not separated by any form of punctuation. The error can sometimes be corrected by adding a period, semicolon, or colon to separate the two sentences
Compound Run-on Sentences
Compound sentences that are not punctuated correctly are run-ons. Correct compound run-ons by using one of these rules: Join the two independent clauses with one of the coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet), and use a comma before the connecting word. Example: He enjoys walking through the country, and he often goes backpacking on his vacations.
Correct compound run-ons (cont) . . .
When you do not have a connecting word (or when you use a connecting word other than and, but, for, or nor, so, or yet between the two independent clauses use a semicolon (;). Examples: (A) He often watched television even when only reruns were playing; she preferred to read instead. (B) He often watched TV when there were only reruns; however, she preferred to read instead.) or
Run-on Practice Exercises Directions: Correct these run-ons (rewrite).
(1) They weren't dangerous criminals they were detectives in disguise. (2) The dangerous criminals escaped the detectives had their backs turned. (3) I didn't know which job I wanted I was too confused to decide. (4) I didn’t want to work I wanted to go on the Alaskan Cruise that I won on the Price is Right.
Answers to Run-on Exercises
#1 One Possible Correction They weren't dangerous criminals; they were detectives in disguise. #2 One Correction The dangerous criminals escaped while the detectives had their backs turned. #3 One Correction I didn't know which job I wanted; I was too confused to decide. # 4 One Correction I didn’t want to work. I wanted to go on the Alaskan Cruise that I won on the Price is Right.
Workshop Assessment & Evaluation
Please complete the run-on and fragments handouts you have been provided, include your name and date, and turn in to SSS staff. Please complete and sign the Academic Seminar Evaluation form and turn in to SSS staff. Name of Activity: “Completing Sentences” Place: SSS Office
Conclusion SSS hopes this presentation has given you some useful information. Feel free to suggest any other topics that you would like to see presented. Stop in the Office located in 24 Eldridge Hall or Phone: Have a great learning experience here at Troy University.
Sources Troy University Writing Center. Retrieved July 18, 2006, at
Fragments. OWL (online writing lab). Retrieved July 18, 2006, at Run-on sentences. OWL (online writing lab). Retrieved July 18, 2006, at Hacker, Diana. Rules for Writers. 5th ed. Boston/New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004.
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