Presentation on theme: "Conquering the Comma Rationale: Welcome to “Conquering the Comma.” This presentation is designed to acquaint your students with the rules of comma usage,"— Presentation transcript:
2 What is a Comma?A comma is a punctuation mark that indicates a pause is needed in a sentence.Commas help to clarify meaning for the reader.,Key Concepts: The facilitator may choose to invite the audience to respond to the title question and allow participants to discuss the function of the comma. Many writers become frustrated with comma usage because they are unsure of where to place them in their sentences. This presentation is designed to demystify the placement and usage of commas.The facilitator may stress to participants that commas should not be ignored in writing; they are often needed to clarify meaning within a sentence and can help to avoid confusion.Click mouse after title question to reveal each response.
8 Clauses and PhrasesA clause is a group of words that contains both a subject and a verb that complement each other.A phrase is a group of words that does not contain a subject or a verb that complement each other.Key Concepts: This slide articulates the basic differences between a clause and a phrase. The facilitator may stress the importance of understanding these definitions for understanding comma placement.
9 Sentence Structure: Dependent Clause A dependent clause contains a subject and verb, but the clause cannot stand independently.Dependent clauses can often be identified by the use of dependent clause markers.Some dependent clause markers:becausesincewhenwhileuntilifasthoughalthoughunlessafterbeforeoncewhetherKey Concepts: This slide explains the definition of a dependent clause. The dependent clause markers can help writers identify clauses that cannot stand alone within a sentence.
10 Sentence Structure: Introductory Clause When the phrase or clause comes at the beginning of the sentence, the comma goes after the phrase or clause.phrase S VBefore the test, Dan struggled with hisConj S Vhomework, so his father helped him.Key Concepts: An introductory clause is a dependent clause located at the beginning of a sentence. After an introductory clause, a comma is needed to distinguish it from the independent clause.Activity: The facilitator may choose to ask students to identify the independent and dependent clauses, the subjects, the verbs, and the dependent clause marker in the sample sentence.
11 Introductory ClauseWhere would you place the comma in the following example?S VBecause it was raining we decided to go to the movies.Activity: This interactive slide invites participants to place commas after the introductory clauses in each sentence. Again, the facilitator may ask students to identify the parts of speech in the example.
12 Introductory ClauseWhere would you place the comma in the following example?Introductory clause S VBecause it was raining, we decided to go to the movies.
13 Dependent Clause at end of sentence When a dependent clause isAt the end,Do Not place a comma between the two.S VWe decided to go to the movies because we were bored.Activity: When a dependent clause follows an independent clause, commas are not used. Facilitators may choose to ask students to identify the parts of speech in the example.
14 DialogueA comma is used before (or after) a quotation, as in dialogue.Ex) My brother yelled, “I’ll race you home.”Ex) “Okay,” I hollered back.
15 Essential and Non-essential Phrases and Clauses An essential clause or phrase is used to modify a noun.It also adds information that is critical to the meaning of the sentence.Essential clauses are NOT set off by commas.S essential phrase VThe people who work in my office are loud.Key Concepts: This slide leads off a section about essential and non-essential phrases and clauses. Essential phrases and clauses—elements that add critical information to the meaning of a sentence—do not have commas placed around them. For the slide example: Without the essential phrase, this sentence does not make complete sense : The people are loud! While the sentence is grammatically correct, we don’t know about the people being discussed.
16 Sentence Structure: Essential Phrases and Clauses The word “that” is almost always an indicator of an essential phrase or clause.S essential VThe tiramisu that I had at Joe’s was great.Key Concept: The word “that” almost always indicates an essential phrase or clause.
17 Sentence Structure: Nonessential Phrases & Clauses A nonessential phrase or clause adds extra information to a sentence.This information can be eliminated from the sentence without jeopardizing the meaning of the sentence.Always place commas around nonessential phrases and clauses.Key Concepts: This slide illustrates the difference between essential and nonessential elements. While commas should not be placed around essential phrases and clauses, they should be placed around nonessential phrases and clauses.
18 Sentence Structure: Nonessential Phrases & Clauses Even without the phrase the sentence still makes sense: My brother plans to throw a party.S non-essential VMy brother, who lives across town, plans to throw a party.Example: Nonessential phrases and clauses can be removed from sentences without jeopardizing the overall meaning of a sentence. In this example, “who lives across town” is superfluous information; it is not critical to the main message of the sentence—the woman’s brother will throw a party for her.
19 Sentence Structure: Nonessential Phrases & Clauses Use commas to set off additional information.S VSteve said that he would propose to me onnon-essentialValentine’s Day, which is my favorite holiday.Example: This slide provides another example illustrating the placement of a nonessential phrase within a sentence. At the end of a sentence, the nonessential element should have a comma placed before it and a period after it. The facilitator may wish to stress that “which” often, but not always, indicates a nonessential phrase or clause.
20 Comma PracticeWould you place commas in the following sentences? If so, where?I am planning a trip to Paris which is one of the greatest cities in the world.The place that I would most like to see is the Eiffel Tower.Pierre, who is one of my business contacts, will meet me at the airport.Activity: These examples allow participants an opportunity to test their comma skills.The first example needs a comma after “Paris” to set off the nonessential phrase.The second example requires no comma. The phrase “that I would most like to see” is essential to the meaning of the sentence. The sentence will not make sense without this essential phrase.The third example requires two commas, both before and after the nonessential phrase “who is one of my business contacts.” The main message of this sentence—that Pierre will meet this person at the airport—is clear without knowing the additional information about his identity.
21 Sentence Structure: Commas in a Series Place commas in a sentence to divide items in a list.The commas will help the reader to avoid confusion.The comma before the conjunction is generally required, but it can be omitted if there is no possibility of confusion.Key Concept: Commas should be placed between each element within a list. This placement can help the reader to avoid confusion.
22 Sentence Structure: Commas in a Series Consider the difference in the following:Last month, Alex dated Mary Ann Lee and Kim.Last month, Alex dated Mary, Ann, Lee, and Kim.Last month, Alex dated Mary Ann, Lee, and Kim.How many women did Alex date?Activity: These examples illustrate the importance of comma placement within a list. The facilitator may ask students to answer the question “How many women did Alex date?” in accordance with each example—two women in the first, four in the second, and three in the third.
23 Sentence Structure: Commas in a Series Commas should be placed in series of words, phrases, or clauses.Place commas in the following sentences:Martina brushed her hair put on her pajamas, and went to bed.She fell asleep and dreamed that she was a princess she kissed a frog and she rescued her prince.Activity: The facilitator may stress to participants that a series includes a list of words, but it can also include a list of phrases or clauses. This exercise allows participants to determine when the commas should be placed in each sentence.
24 Commas with Adjectives Use commas to separate adjectives that provide an equal description of a noun.The Test:Can you put “and” between the adjectives?Can they be described in reverse order?If so, use a comma.big blue house | three hungry kittens | a cranky, bald manKey Concepts: Students often find comma placement between adjectives to be tricky. The key is to determine if the adjectives are equal—meaning that they modify the noun in the same capacity. Adjectives of size and quantity are generally considered to be unequal to adjectives of character or quality. Placing “and” between adjectives or reversing the order of adjectives are good tests to determine if a comma is needed.
25 Compound Sentence and comma splice A sentence that contains two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction is called a compound sentence.A conjunction joins words, phrases, and clauses together in a sentence.ConjunctionsforandnorbutoryetsoF A N B O Y SKey Concepts: This slide explains the structure of a compound sentence and the role of a conjunction. An easy method for remembering the seven coordinating conjunctions is the acronym “fan boys.”
26 Sentence Structure: Compound Sentences The comma in a compound sentence is placed before the coordinating conjunction.S V Conj. S VAndy built a snowman, and Jeff played with his dog.Example: This slide exemplifies the location of a comma in a compound sentence, before the coordinating conjunction. The facilitator may ask participants to identify the subjects, verbs, and conjunction in the example.
27 Sentence Structure: Compound Sentence Where would you place the comma in the following sentence?S V SDan struggled with his homework so his fatherVhelped him.Example: This slide provides participants with an opportunity to locate the correct position for the comma within the sample sentence. The facilitator may also invite students to identify the subjects, verbs, and conjunction in the sentence.
28 A Common Error: The Comma Splice A comma splice is an error in which two independent clauses are joined by a comma.S VDan struggled with his homework, hisfather helped him.Key Concepts: One of the most prevalent comma errors is the comma splice—the placement of a comma between two independent clauses.
29 To Correct a Comma Splice Insert a conjunction between the two independent clauses.Start a new sentence.Insert a semi-colon between the two independent clauses (only in cases where the independent clauses are closely related in topic).Key Concepts: This slide enumerates several methods for correcting comma splices. The examples listed in the next three slides are corrections of the comma splices in the previous slide.
30 To Correct a Comma Splice S V Conj.Dan struggled with his homework, so hisS Vfather helped him.Add a coordinating conjunction.
31 To Correct a Comma Splice S VDan struggled with his homework. Hisfather helped him.Start a new sentence.
32 To Correct a Comma Splice S VDan struggled with his homework; hisfather helped him.Insert a semi-colon between the two independent clauses (only in cases where the independent clauses are closely related in topic).
33 Comma Splice Practice How would you correct the following? This semester I am taking calculus physics and economics.Calculus is my best subject, I am certain I will get an A.Although I am very busy, I still find time to have fun.Last weekend my brother visited me and we went to a football game a party and a rock concert.Activity: This slide invites participants to again test their comma skills.The first example requires commas between each element within the list.The second example contains a comma splice. The sentence may be corrected by the addition of a conjunction after the comma, turning the comma splice into a compound sentence. This example may also be corrected by separating the two clauses into two separate sentences, or by changing the comma to a semi-colon.The third example requires a comma after the introductory clause. The facilitator may wish to note that “although” is a dependent clause marker.The fourth example, a compound sentence, requires a comma before the conjunction. Commas are also needed after each element in the list.
34 SemicolonsUse a semi-colon to separate independent clauses not joined by a conjunction. You cannot have a semi-colon AND a conjunction. Ex) My science class is third hour; it is my favorite class.
35 SemicolonsUse a semicolon to separate independent clauses if they are joined by conjunctive adverbs, such as however, also, besides, indeed, in fact, otherwise, furthermore, etc. Ex) We want to come to your party; however, Mary has a bad cold. Ex) We want to come to your party; Mary, however, has a bad cold.
36 Additional Help Purdue University Writing Lab Heavilon 226 Grammar Hotline: (765)Check our web site:brief questions:Rationale: As the presentation concludes, the facilitator can remind students that they can come to the Writing Lab for extra help with comma usage.Click mouse after the title question.For additional assistance with comma usage, see:Harris, Muriel. Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000.