Basics of Sentence Structure Comma Splices Sentence Fragments Verbs Use Interesting Verbs Use Verbs You Know Don’t Use Passive Voice Use Literary Present Where We’re Headed…
What are independent and dependent clauses? Independent clause is a group of words with a subject and verb that can stand alone as a complete sentence. Ex.) The crew could see the whale. Dependent clause is a group of words with a subject and verb that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. Ex.) which had surfaced only 50m behind them. Put both examples together. Does it make sense? Do they fit together nicely? From the Beginning!
To truly understand comma splices and sentence fragments, you must first remember that there are a few different types of sentences. Simple Sentence : contains one independent clause (a defined subject and verb can be found) Ex.) I swept the floor. Compound Sentence : contains two or more independent clauses; can be joined together by a coordinating conjunction Ex.) I swept the floor, and he cleaned the table. 4 Types of Sentences
Complex Sentence : contains one independent clause plus one or more dependent clause Ex.) When I finished playing the game, I swept the floor. Compound-Complex Sentence : contains two independent clauses and one or more dependent clause Ex.) When I finished playing the game, I swept the floor, and he cleaned the table. Remember: In order to use the following sentences correctly in your writing, you must first understand how they are constructed!! 4 Types of Sentences (cont’d)
Now that we understand what a sentence is, we can begin to look at problems that may occur when writing one! Let’s start with… Comma Splices!
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. A Comma Splice is…
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 How to Fix a Comma Splice:
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. Let’s Practice!
Also, when considering when to use a comma, consult the (comma)ndments!
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. Fragment: I need to find a new roommate. Because the one I have now isn’t working out too well. Possible Revision: I need to find a new roommate, because the one I have now isn’t working out too well. Sentence Fragments…
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. Sentence Fragments (cont’d)
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.
When you think about using appropriate, powerful verbs in your writing, consider the following: Use Interesting Verbs Use Verbs You Know Don’t Use Passive Voice Use Literary Present Now…Verbs!
NOT: is, was, are, were, shows, states, says, uses, seems, appears (very BORING!) 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 or just for a definition. Use Interesting Verbs/Verbs You Know
It is sometimes okay! You just need to be careful not to overuse it, or use it because you don’t want to claim your own ideas. Example: Passive: The mouse was eaten by the cat. Active: The cat ate the mouse. Don’t Use Passive Voice!
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. Use Literary Present
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