Presentation on theme: "Conquering the Comma Purdue University Writing Lab."— Presentation transcript:
1 Conquering the CommaPurdue University Writing Lab
2 What Is a Comma?A comma is a punctuation mark that indicates a pause is needed in a sentenceCommas help to clarify meaning for the readerPurdue University Writing LabKey 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.
3 Clauses and PhrasesA clause is a group of words that contains both a subject and a verb that complement each otherA phrase is a group of words that does not contain a subject or a verb that complement each otherPurdue University Writing LabKey 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.
4 Phrase: are word clusters lacking subject and verb combinations. Clauses and PhrasesClause: contain a subject and verb. If they form complete thoughts, we call them independent clauses. If they form incomplete thoughts, we call them dependent or subordinate clauses.Phrase: are word clusters lacking subject and verb combinations.
5 Clauses and PhrasesClause examples: 1) We collected the data (Complete sentence with a subject and verb - this is an independent clause.) 2) While we collected the data (FRAGMENT as is even though it has a subject and verb - this is a dependent clause.)Phrase example: While collecting data(also a fragment, but not even a subject and verb!)
6 Sentence Structure: A Simple Sentence A complete sentence has two components, a subject and a verb.The subject and verb must form a complete thought to be considered a simple sentence.Purdue University Writing LabKey Concepts: This slide explains the structure of an independent clause, the primary building block for the development of any sentence. An independent clause requires a subject and a verb that can stand as a complete thought. Sentences can be very short, as the one detailed in the slide. The facilitator may ask the audience to identify the subject and verb in the example.Click mouse after text appears to reveal picture and sample sentence.Click mouse after sample sentence to reveal the labels “subject” and “verb.”The couple dances.The couple dances.subject (S) verb (V)
7 Sentence Structure: Compound Sentence A sentence that contains two simple sentences joined by a conjunction is called a compound sentence.A conjunction joins words, phrases, and clauses together in a sentence.ConjunctionsforandnorbutoryetsoPurdue University Writing LabKey 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.”Click mouse at the end of the first column.Click mouse at the end of the conjunction list to reveal the acronym.
8 Sentence Structure: Compound Sentence The comma in a compound sentence is placed before the conjunction.Andy built a snowman, and played with his dog.S V conj.Andy built a snowman andJeff played with his dog.S VPurdue University Writing LabExample: 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.Click after example sentence appears to reveal parts of speech.
9 Sentence Structure: Compound Sentence Where would you place the comma in the following sentence?Purdue University Writing LabExample: 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.Click mouse after sample sentence to reveal the comma.Click mouse after the comma to reveal parts of speech.Dan struggled with his homework so his father helped him.S V conj. S V
10 Sentence Structure: Pattern for the Compound Sentence We see these as sentences with a pattern:SV, conj. SVHe journeyed a long way, for his home was across the ocean.S V ,conj. S VExample: 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.Click mouse after sample sentence to reveal the comma.Click mouse after the comma to reveal parts of speech.I built a very strong boat, yet it still sunk to the ground.S V ,conj. S V
11 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.Purdue University Writing LabKey Concept: Commas should be placed between each element within a list. This placement can help the reader to avoid confusion.
12 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.Purdue University Writing LabActivity: 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.Click to reveal each example.How many girls did Alex date?
13 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.Purdue University Writing LabActivity: 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.Click to reveal commas for each sentence.She fell asleep and dreamed that she was a princess, she kissed a frog, and she rescued her prince.
14 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.Purdue University Writing LabKey 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.big blue house three hungry kittensa cranky, ungrateful man
15 Sentence Structure: Direct Address A noun in direct address is the name or title of a person being spoken to.Use commas to set off nouns in direct address.Example:Mrs. Barnhart, I love learning grammar!I want to learn more about commas, Tracy, so I can be the best writer!Purdue University Writing LabKey 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.
16 Sentence Structure: Appositives An appositive is a noun or phrase that identifies the person or thing it follows.Use commas to set off MOST appositives.Do not use commas to set off a short appositive, such as one name.This is my friend Kara.Purdue University Writing Lab
17 Sentence Structure: Appositives Purdue University Writing LabMy brother, the biggest nerd I know, 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.S appositive V
18 Commas in Quotations Follow your rules for dialogue punctuation. If the He said comes first, place the comma after said.He said, “I know Kung Fu.”If the he said comes after the quote, place the comma inside the quotation marks after the last word in the quotation.“I’ll dance with you,” he said.Purdue University Writing Lab
19 Commas in QuotationsIf the he said comes in the middle of the quote, place the comma inside the quotation marks after the last word in the first part of the quote and after the he said.“Put the box,” he said, “in the house.”Purdue University Writing Lab
20 Time to PracticeYou will get into groups to practice/model the “varied sentence structure” possible in a 7-sentence paragraph. Here’s the pattern you must follow:Simple sentenceCompound sentenceCommas in a seriesCommas use to separate adjectivesAppositiveSemicolon sentenceColon sentenceAdded slide
21 A Common Comma Error: The Comma Splice A comma splice is an error in which two sentences are joined by a comma.We had a nice time, I hope we can meet again soon.S V S VPurdue University Writing LabKey Concepts: One of the most prevalent comma errors is the comma splice—the placement of a comma between two independent clauses.The Internet has revolutionized the business world,S Vonline sales have increased dramatically this year.S V
22 To Correct a Comma Splice Insert a conjunction between the two sentences.Start a new sentence.Insert a semi-colon between the two sentences.We had a nice time, and I hope we can meet again soon.We had a nice time. I hope we can meet again soon.The Internet has revolutionized the business world; online sales have increased dramatically this year.Purdue University Writing LabKey Concepts: This slide enumerates several methods for correcting comma splices. The examples listed here are corrections of the comma splices in the previous slide.