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Idioms and Clarity of Expression Punctuation Errors

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1 Idioms and Clarity of Expression Punctuation Errors
Writing Strategies Idioms and Clarity of Expression Punctuation Errors

2 Idioms and Clarity of Expression
Idiom: a fixed distinctive expression whose meaning cannot be deduced from the combined meanings of its actual words AND the way of using a language that comes naturally to its native speakers Check for errors: Wrong Prepositions Diction Gerund vs. Infinitive Ambiguity in Scope Low-Level Usage

3 Wrong Prepositions Only certain prepositions can be used with certain verbs. Ex: I asked him repeatedly if he was from about here, but he never answered me. (correct?) #60-61

4 Diction Sometimes a word is used incorrectly, which leads to a construction that is simply not idiomatic or not acceptable according to standard usage. The techniques of empirical observation in the social sciences are different than those in the physical sciences. John expressed his intention to make the trip, but if he will actually go is doubtful. Herbert divided the cake among Mary and Sally. The amount of students in the class declined as the the semester progressed. SEE p. 318 for list #62-63 p. 597

5 Gerund vs. Infinitive Infinitives are to+verb Gerunds are –ing forms of verbs Both can function as nouns; sometimes, either can be used. Adding an extra room to the house is the next project. To add an extra room to the house is the next project. Some verbs are often followed by infinitives; others are often followed by gerunds. #64-65

6 Ambiguity in Scope This occurs when there is no clear division between two ideas, so that the ideas seem to merge. After the arrest, the accused was charged with resisting arrest and criminal fraud. The recent changes in the tax law will affect primarily workers who wait tables in restaurants, operate concessions in public places, and drive taxis. *Usually this error is corrected by adding words to clarify the two ideas as distinct. #66

7 Low Level Usage Expressions that are heard frequently in conversation that are regarded as low-level usage and are unacceptable in standard written English. She sure is pretty! #67 Ain’t, aren’t I, around (2 P. M.), between you and I, bunch (of people), different than, equally as good, have got, haning took, in back of, kind of , plan on, on account of, put in, try and, theirselves, should of, same as . . .

8 Isolated Errors Sometimes an error can be analyzed in isolation from the rest of the sentence, making it easier to identify and correct. #68-69

9 Punctuation Errors Commas Semicolons Colons End-stop punctuation
Dashes Hyphens Quotation marks Punctuating for clarity

10 Commas Use a comma before coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS). #70- 72
Use commas for clarity. #73 If the sentence might be subject to different interpretations without it. If a pause would make the sentence clearer. Use commas to separate coordinate adjectives, words ina series, and nouns in direct address. The jolly, fat, ruddy man stood at the top of the stairs. Coats, umbrellas, and boots should be placed in the closet. Pencils, scissors, paper clips, etc. belong in the drawer. (NO , after etc.) Mary, it is your turn to clean the kitchen. #74-75

11 Commas Use a comma to separate quotations and introductory phrases. If subordinate clause follows main clause, you do not need to set off by a comma. #76-78 Use pairs of commas to set off appositive, parenthetical, and non-restrictive elements. Mr. Dias, our lawyer, gave us some great advice. This book, I believe, is the best of its kind. Sam, who is a very well behaved dog, never strays from the yard. #79-83

12 Situations in which NOT to use commas
To separate a subject from a verb. To set off restrictive or necessary clauses of phrases. In place of a conjunction. #84-87

13 Semicolons Use a semicolon to separate two complete ideas (independent clauses) The setting sun caused the fields to take on a special glow; all was bathed in a pale light. Use a semicolon to separate independent clauses NOT connected by a coordinating conjunction (FANBOYS). ALSO use between independent clauses connected by consequently, however, therefore, moreover, etc. (conjunctive adverbs). Annie is working the front desk; Ernie will take over at midnight. She waited for the check to arrive; however, her check never appeared.

14 Semicolons Use a semicolon to separate a series of phrases or clauses, each of which contain commas. The old gentleman’s heirs were Margaret, his half-sister; James, the butler; William, companion to his late cousin, Robert; and his favorite charity, The Salvation Army. Use a semicolon to avoid confusion with numbers. Add the following: $.25; $7.50; and $ #88-91

15 Colons After the salutation of a business letter.
To separate hours from minutes. To precede a list of three or more items or a long quotation. To introduce a question. Dear Board Member: The eclipse occurred at 10:36 A. M. Many people refer to four branches of government: the executive, the judicial, the legislative, and the media. My question is this: Are you willing to punch a time clock? # A colon can be used as a “drumroll.” However, don’t use after “like,” “for example,” “such as,” and “that is.” The colon replaces these!

16 End Stop Punctuation Do not use a period if not a complete sentence.
#94 . ? !

17 Dashes Use a dash for emphasis or to set off an explanatory group of words. The tools of his trade –probe, mirror, and cotton swabs- were arranged on the tray. Use a dash before a word or group of words that indicates a summation or reversal of what preceded it. Patience, sensitivity, understanding, and empathy- these are the marks of a true friend. Use a dash to mark a sudden break in thought that leaves a sentence unfinished. He was not pleased with- in fact, he was completely hostile toward- the takeover. *Unless the material following the dash ends a sentence, dashes, like parentheses, must be used in pairs. Do not mix dashes and commas. #95

18 Hyphens Use a hyphen with a compound modifier that precedes the noun.
There was a sit-in demonstration at the office. Use a hyphen with fractions that serve as adjectives or adverbs. I purchased a four-cylinder car. #96

19 Quotation Marks To enclose the actual works of the speaker or writer.
To emphasize words used in a special or unusual sense. To set off titles of short themes or parts of a larger work. #97 DO NOT USE: For indirect quotations or to justify a poor choice of words. Periods and commas go inside the quotation marks; colons and semicolons go outside the quotation marks. My favorite poem is “My Last Duchess,” a monologue by Browning. My favorite poem is “My Last Duchess”; this poem is a monologue written by Browning.

20 Punctuating for Clarity
#98 Read aloud.

21 Strategies and Checklist
Identifying Sentence Errors Improving Sentences Checklist for Identifying Sentence Errors and Improving Sentences (handout)

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