COMMON GRAMMAR CONCERNS IN WRITING… Comma Splices Sentence Fragments Utilizing Strong Verbs
FIRST…COMMA SPLICES! A comma splice is… When two independent clauses are connected with only a comma A comma splice happens when you use a comma to join two independent clauses. That’s a no-no in grammar! Commas are used for separating, not connecting.
HOW TO FIX COMMA SPLICES: Consider the following sentence: My family bakes together nearly every night, we then get to enjoy everything we make together. Is this correct? Why or why not? NO! There are two independent clauses joined by a comma! How do we fix it? Correction #1: Break the sentence into two separate sentences Correction #2: Add a coordinating conjunction and a comma Correction #3: Add a subordinating conjunction with a comma
LET’S PRACTICE! The following sentences contain comma splices. For each sentence, suggest two possible revisions. 1.I didn’t like the movie, it was way too long. 2.She and Jerry are getting married in the fall, they didn’t want a summer wedding. 3.My favorite bands are all really loud, playing loud music is good for stress relief.
ALSO, WHEN CONSIDERING WHEN TO USE A COMMA, CONSULT THE (COMMA)NDMENTS!
SENTENCE FRAGMENTS… Fail to be a sentence because they cannot stand alone. They also do not contain even one independent clause. Sometimes, fragments may be pieces of sentences that have become disconnected from the main clause. These can be fixed in several ways. Fragment: Purdue offers many majors in engineering. Such as electrical, chemical, and industrial engineering. Possible Revision: Purdue offers many majors in engineering, such as electrical, chemical, and industrial engineering.
SENTENCE FRAGMENTS (CONT’D) Also, remember that some fragments are not clearly pieces of sentences that have been left unattached to the main clause; they are written as main clauses but lack a subject or main verb. No Main Verb: A story with deep thoughts and emotions. Possible Revision: She told a story with deep thoughts and emotions. No Subject: When the ultimate effect of all advertising is to sell the product. Possible Revision: The ultimate effect of all advertising is to sell the product.
LET’S PRACTICE! Read the following sentences and determine whether they are complete sentences or fragments. 1.While I was driving to work and there was an accident on the road. 2.Wherever I go, I take my cell phone with me. 3.As soon as I finish this grammar exercise, I will eat lunch. 4.Whether I complete this course and get credit for it in the fall. 5.So that I don’t spend too much time on any of my projects, I make sure I take frequent breaks.
STRONG VERBS: FIRST…WHAT IS A “WEAK” VERB? is, was, are, were, shows, states, says, uses, seems, appears (very BORING!) Examples: Incorrect: In Something to Declare, Julia Alvarez shows that there is a connection between her writing and society by writing about her experiences with competing cultural expectations. Correct: In this case, in Something to Declare, Julia Alvarez explores her experiences with competing cultural expectations in order to construct a connection between her writing and society.
WITH VERBS, ALSO REMEMBER… MAKE SUBJECT AND VERBS AGREE! Singular subjects need singular verbs (which end in “s” in the present)-The dog barks. Plural subjects (which often end in “s” need plural verbs)-The dogs bark. Think of there being one “s” to go around: either on the subject or the verb (this doesn’t work with irregular plurals like “children”) Consult A Writer’s Resource for more information: pgs. 491-493
WITH VERBS, ALSO REMEMBER…(CONT’D) USE VERBS YOU KNOW! A thesaurus can make you sound ridiculous if you choose words that don’t fit in the context of your sentence. Use your online access to the Oxford English Dictionary to see a word in a zillion contexts, or “Google” the word to see how it is used, just for a definition. Example: Incorrect: Although Alvarez’s poems and essays commence from a particularly American-Hispanic perspective, she thoroughly reconnoiters basic human characteristics. Correct: Although Alvarez’s poems and essays stem from a particularly American- Hispanic perspective, she thoroughly scrutinizes basic human characteristics.
WITH VERBS, ALSO REMEMBER…(CONT’D) USE THE LITERARY PRESENT WHEN WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE! Note: Treat the book as your present time. ANYTHING that happens in the book-including what the author writes, scrutinizes, dissects, etc.-is discussed in the present tense. This means that anything that the book treats as in the past-what happened before the present time of the book=is discussed in past tense
QUESTIONS?? 678-839-6513 firstname.lastname@example.org TLC 1201 (First floor, past the snacks) www.westga.edu/writing Like us on Facebook: University Writing Center (UWG) Duane Theobald (Manager of the UWC) 678-839-5312