Common Errors Most comma errors occur because the writer has not distinguished independent and dependent clauses. What is an independent clause (IC)?
Independent Clause Consists of an “agent” or “actor” and a verb Can stand independently and make sense Examples: 1. I love ice cream. 2. This project seems difficult.
Two Types of Verbs Linking verbs – express a state of being Examples: All forms of the verb “to be” (am, is, are, was, were, being, been) And words like: feel(s) smell(s) seem(s) sound(s) become(s) taste(s) look(s) Action Verbs – express an action Examples: write revise read study run
Summary of IC IC = Subject + Verb (action or linking) Examples?
Dependent Clause Consists of an agent and a verb (IC) but is introduced by a subordinating conjunction Does not make sense when it stands alone Must be followed by a comma Examples: After the class ended, When the sun set, Until you clean your room,
Subordinating Conjunctions Some examples of subordinating words: although after before because if once since unless until when while
Summary of Dependent Clause (DC) DC = Subordinating Conjunction+ IC, Followed by a comma if beginning a sentence Examples?
What about Commas? Dependent Clause, Independent Clause DC, IC Independent Clause ____ Dependent Clause IC DC
Other Problem Areas: Comma Splice Commas are often misused to connect two independent clauses without coordinating conjunction to help to connect them Examples: The milk was sour, we did not drink it. I finished my essay at midnight, I went to bed.
Coordinating Conjunctions Words that link like sentence elements (clauses, nouns, verbs, prepositional phrases, etc.) BOYFANS: But Or Yet For (not the preposition) And Nor So
Comma Splice You can avoid using a comma splice by simply adding a coordinating conjunction after the comma between the two independent clauses. Examples: The milk was sour, so we did not drink it. I finished my essay at midnight, and I went to bed.
Other Problem Areas: The Oxford Comma In a series of three or more like elements, a comma should be inserted before the final coordinating conjunction For breakfast we ate eggs, waffles, and sausage.
Why the Oxford Comma? Example: For breakfast we ate eggs with bacon, waffles with syrup, and sausage with biscuits. Without the Oxford comma, it is not clear that the sausage was served with the biscuits, as in a breakfast sandwich.
Summary DC, IC IC ____ DC IC, coor. conj. IC 1, 2, and 3 (note the Oxford comma)
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