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Sentences Understanding Parts of a Sentence and Sentence Types & Common Sentence Errors (Fragments/Run-Ons)
What is a sentence A sentence is a group of words that must express a complete thought about something or someone. A sentence contains a subject and a predicate Subject : Who or what the sentence is about Predicate : Indicates what the subject does. The predicate must include a verb. The snow fell steadily.
Compound Subjects and Predicates Some sentences contain two or more subjects joined with a coordinating conjunction (and, but, nor, or, for, so, yet). Those subjects together form a compound subject. Maria and I completed the marathon. Some sentences have two or more predicates joined by a coordinating conjunction. Those predicates together form a compound predicate. The supermarket owner will survey his customers and order the specialized foods they desire.
Sentence Types by Purpose A declarative sentence makes a statement and ends with a period. The snow fell steadily. An interrogative sentence asks a question and ends with a question mark (?). Who called? An exclamatory sentence conveys strong emotion and ends with an exclamation point (!). We won! An imperative sentence gives an order or makes a request. It ends with either a period or exclamation point, depending on how strong or mild the command or request is. In an imperative sentence, the subject “you” is often not included, but understood. Get me a fire extinguisher now! [The subject you is understood—You get me a fire extinguisher now!]
Expanding Sentences A sentence must consist of a subject and a verb: Linda studied. Rumors circulated. But most sentences contain additional information about the subject and verb. Linda studied intensely in the library for hours. Although they swore nothing happened between them, rumors circulated about the two hours they spent together in the library. Three common ways to add information to a sentence include: 1.Adding adjectives and/or adverbs 2.Adding phrases (groups of words that lack either a subject or predicate) 3.Adding clauses (groups of words that contains both a subject and a predicate)
Expanding sentences with adjectives and adverbs WITHOUT ADJECTIVES : Dogs barked at cats. WITH ADJECTIVES : Our three large, brown dogs barked at the two terrified, calico cats. WITHOUT ADVERBS : I will clean WITH ADVERBS : I will clean very thoroughly tomorrow. ADD YOUR OWN ADJECTIVES AND ADVERBS TO THIS SENETENCE : I studied.
Expanding sentences with phrases A phrase is a group of related words that lacks a subject, or predicate, or both. A phrase CANNNOT stand alone as a sentence. Upon entering the room, I noticed the stain on the expensive carpet. Prepositional Phrases See list of common prepositions on page ____.
Expanding sentences with phrases Past participle phrases (words that end in –ed) and present participle phrases (words that end in –ing) can also be used to expand a sentence. Irritated, Joe walked out of the crowded store. The singer, having caught a bad cold, canceled her performance.
Expanding sentences with clauses A clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a predicate. A clause is either independent (also called main) or dependent (also called subordinate). An independent clause can stand alone and is a grammatically complete sentence: The alarm sounded. A dependent clause CANNOT stand alone as a grammatically complete sentence because it does not express a complete thought. By itself, a dependent clause is a fragment: Because the alarm sounded.
Dependent clauses Most dependent clauses begin with either a subordinating conjunction or a relative pronoun Common Subordinating Conjunction Common Relative Pronouns After Although Because Before Whether Even if (though) Since While If That Which Whatever Who (whose, whom, whoever)
Sentence types Depending on its structure, a sentence an be classified as one of four basic types: 1.simple 2.compound 3.complex 4.compound-complex
Simple sentences A simple sentence has one independent clause and no dependent clauses. A simple sentence contains at least one subject and predicate. It may have a compound subject, a compound predicate and various phrases, but it has only one clause. I studied. I studied for my math test for three hours.
Compound sentences A compound sentence has at least two independent clauses and no dependent clauses. The two independent clauses are usually joined with a comma and a coordinating conjunction (FANBOYS). Sometimes the two clauses are joined with a semicolon and no coordinating conjunction. Doing my homework each night takes a lot of time, but it helps me do better in my classes. I set out to explore the campus; I ended up spending the day in the student union.
Complex sentences A complex sentence has one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses. The clauses are joined by subordinating conjunctions or relative pronouns. My friend Shay hugged me when she saw me because she hadn’t seen me in a long time. While making breakfast, I burned the toast.
Compound-Complex Sentences A compound-complex sentence contains two or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses. If students work part-time, they must plan their studies carefully, and they must limit their social lives. Practice combining sentences in your textbook!
Practice Which sentence type are these? (write 1-5 on a piece of paper, label “ S ” for simple sentences, “ CP ” for compound sentences, “ CX ” for complex sentences, and “ CP-CX ” for compound-complex sentences.) 1.I am in the mood for pizza. 2.I want pizza for dinner, but I’m on a diet. 3.I probably shouldn’t have that third piece of pizza because I am on a diet. 4.Since I ate that fourth piece of pizza, I think I have blown my diet. 5.Even though I ate five pieces of pizza last night, I am still committed to losing weight, so I will go back on my diet today.
Answers Which sentence type are these? 1.I am in the mood for pizza. [ SIMPLE ] 2.I want pizza for dinner, but I’m on a diet. [ COMPOUND ] 3.I probably shouldn’t have that third piece of pizza because I am on a diet. [ COMPLEX ] 4. Since I ate that fourth piece of pizza, I think I have blown my diet. [ COMPLEX ] 5. Even though I ate five pieces of pizza last night, I am still committed to losing weight, so I will go back on my diet today. [ COMPOUND-COMPLEX ]
Sentence Errors Two of the most common sentence errors are: Fragments Run-on’s and comma splices
Fragments A fragment is an incomplete sentence because it lacks either a subject, a verb, or both, or it is a dependent clause unattached to a complete sentence. In either case, it DOES NOT EXPRESS A COMPLETE THOUGHT. Walked across campus. [Lacks a subject] The car next to the fence. [Lacks a verb] Alert and ready. [Lacks a subject and verb] While I was waiting in line. [Dependent clause]
How to spot a fragment Does the sentence have a verb ? Does the sentence have a subject ? The bookstore opens at eight o’clock. Does the sentence begin with a subordinating conjunction (such as after, although, as, because, however, since or that)? If so, it must be attached to an independent clause to form a complete sentence. While I waiting for the train, I saw Robert DeNiro. Does the sentence begin with a relative pronoun (that, what, whatever, which, who, whom, whose)? If so, it must form a question or be attached to an independent clause to form a complete sentence. Who lost the keys? I am looking for the person who lost the keys.
Correcting Fragments There are several ways to correct a fragment: 1.Attach the fragment to a complete sentence or independent clause. Often, this means attaching it to a sentence that comes either before or after the fragment. I did not finish the book. Because I found it boring. I did not finish the book because I found it boring. 2.Remove the subordinating conjunction or relative pronoun and let it stand alone as its own complete sentence: I did not finish the book. I found it boring. 3.Add the missing subject or verb or both: Started complaining loudly. [Who? Missing subject] The angry patient started complaining loudly.
Run-On Sentences and Comma Splices A run-on sentence contains two independent clauses that are not separated by any punctuation or a coordinating conjunction (FANBOYS). RUN ON: We watched the football game then we ordered pizza. CORRECTED SENTENCE: We watched the football game, and then we ordered pizza. A comma splice contains two independent clauses joined only by a comma (the coordinating conjunction is missing). A comma by itself cannot join two independent clauses. COMMA SPLICE: The average person watches 15 hours of television per week, I watch only two hours of television per week. CORRECTED SENTENCE: The average person watches 15 hours of television per week, but I watch only two hours of television per week.
How to Correct Run-on Sentences & Comma Splices 1.Create two separate sentences: RUN ON: We went for a walk in the woods we saw the leaves turning red and brown. CORRECTED SENTENCE: We went for a walk in the woods. We saw the leaves turning red and brown. 2.Use a semicolon: RUN ON: It is unlikely taxes will increase this year citizens expressed their opposition. CORRECTED SENTENCE: It is unlikely taxes will increase this year; citizens expressed their opposition. 3.Insert a comma and a coordinating conjunction (FANBOYS): RUN ON: Americans are changing their eating habits they still eat too much red meat. CORRECTED SENTENCE: Americans are changing their eating habits, but they still eat too much red meat. 4.Make one clause subordinate to the other: RUN ON: I left the store I shut off the light. CORRECTED SENTENCE: Before I left the store, I shut off the lights.
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