Wednesday, October 10, 2012 English 380
Fragments, Run-ons, and Comma Splices Grammar Review
Review of clauses from Tuesday But First -
Independent Clauses • Independent clauses have a subject and verb, and can stand alone as a sentence • She ran • He spoke • He spoke fluent English
Dependent Clauses • CANNOT stand alone as sentences, though they will also contain a subject and verb • When she ran • Although he spoke fluent English
How to tell the difference • Independent clauses will sound complete. • Dependent clauses will begin with a connecting word, and won’t sound complete. • Although • When • And • Because • After • While • Since • Santa Claus is a fat man in a red suit with a white beard.
Why it matters • Knowing the differences between the types of clauses will help you to identify and correct your mistakes. Some of the most common errors (run-ons and fragments) are caused by joining clauses incorrectly.
Fragments • A sentence fragment is an incomplete sentence – a clause or a phrase—that is punctuated as if it were a sentence. • Common fragment errors: • Missing a subject • Missing a verb • Missing a subject and verb • Being an incomplete thought
Missing a subject • Many astrophysicists now believe that galaxies are distributed in clusters. And even form supercluster complexes.
Missing a verb • Every generation has its defining moments. Usually the events with the most news coverage.
Missing both subject and verb • Researches are engaged in a variety of studies. Suggesting a link between alcoholism and heredity. • Suggesting looks like a verb, but in this case, it is not the main action verb of the sentence
Incomplete Thought(dependent clause) • Bishop Desmond Tutu was awarded the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize. Because he struggled to end apartheid. • The pH meter and the spectrophotometer are two scientific instruments. That changed the chemistry laboratory dramatically.
Correcting Sentence Fragments • Attach it to an independent clause • Deleting the conjunction or relative pronoun • Supply the missing subject and/or verb
Attach • President Johnson did not seek reelection. For a number of reasons. • Students sometimes take a leave of absence. To decide on definite career goals.
Delete • Property taxes rose sharply. Although city services declined. • The battery is dead. Which means the car won’t start.
Supply • In 1948, India became independent. Divided into the nations of India and Pakistan. • A familiar trademark can increase a product’s sales. Reminding shoppers that the product has a longstanding reputation.
Another trick • Try adding “it is true that” in front of a sentence that you think may be a fragment. A complete sentence will make sense; a fragment will not.
Fragment triggers • Look out for the following. They almost always trigger a sentence fragment: • Beginning a sentence with “for example.” • Beginning a sentence with a gerund (-ing) form verb • Beginning a sentence with a subordinating conjunction (however, because, although) • These are words used to set up dependent clauses, which cannot function as sentences without the support of an independent clause.
Practice: • Complete the handout I’ve given you. You may work with a partner.
Two types of Run-On Sentences • Run-on sentences are two complete sentences that have been fused together with a lack of punctuation (ro). • A comma splice is a run-on sentence that uses a comma to separate two independent clauses (cs).
Fused or Run-On Sentence • Charles Dickens created the character of Mr. Micawber he also created Uriah Heep.
Comma Splice • Charles Dickens created the character of Mr. Micawber, he also created Uriah Heep. • Charles Dickens created the characters of Mr. Micawber and Uriah Heep.
Correcting Run-Ons and Comma Splices • Add a period • Add a semi-colon • Add a coordinating conjunction • Add a subordinating conjunction or relative pronoun
Add a Period • In 1894 Frenchman Alfred Dreyfus was falsely convicted of treason his struggle for justice pitted the army against the civil libertarians.
Add a semi-colon • Chippendale chairs have straight legs however, Queen Anne chairs have curved legs. • Note: use a semi-colon as you would a period, but with two closely related ideas. • If you use a word like however (transitional word), you must precede it with a semi-colon and follow it with a comma
Add a conjunction • Coordinating conjunctions = FANBOYS • Elias Howe invented the sewing machine, Julia Ward Howe was a poet and social reformer.
Subordinating Conjunction or Relative Pronoun • Sub. Conj. (however, therefore, although, because) • Rel. Pronoun (that, who, which, what) • Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring shocked Parisians in 1913, its rhythms seemed erotic. • Lady Mary Wortley Montagu had suffered from smallpox herself, she helped spread the practice of inoculation
Practice • Please complete the handout I’ve given you. You may work with a partner.
Commas and Semi-Colons Punctuation Review
Commas • Rule 1: • Use a comma to separate two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction. • Coordinating conjunction = FANBOYS • For • And • Nor • But • Or • Yet • So Independent clauses look like they could be sentences of their own; they contain a subject and a verb and a complete thought.
Examples • You can bury your savings in the backyard,but don’t expect Mother Nature to pay interest. • I’m going home tomorrow,and I’m never coming back.
CAUTION • Do not join two sentences with a comma. This makes a comma splice. Only use a comma between two independent clauses if they are joined by a FANBOYS.
Rule 2 An introductory phrase or clause will not be able to stand alone as a sentence, and that’s how you can tell if it needs to be followed by a comma to join it to the rest of the sentence. • Set off an introductory phrase or clause with a comma • After we had finished our laundry, we discovered that one sock was missing. • According to the owner of the Hall Laundry House, customers have conflicting theories about missing laundry.
Rule 3 You can kind of think about these kind of commas as elevators that life out these phrases that give extra information without changing the meaning of the sentence. • Set off non-essential phrases and clauses. If the words can be taken out without changing the meaning of the sentence, put the phrase between commas. • The jukebox, now reappearing in local honky-tonks, first gained popularity during the 1920s. • The addition of the phrase that they’re making a comeback doesn’t change the meaning of the sentence if left out, so it goes between commas.
Rule 4 • Put commas around conjunctive adverbs words like “however,” “therefore,” “consequently,” etc. • She soon discovered, however, that he had stolen her monogrammed towels in addition to her pet avocado plant. If the conjunctive adverb is at the beginning of the sentence, the comma follows the word. • Therefore, she resolved to never speak to him again.
Rule 5 • Use commas to separate the items in a list or series. • Julio collects coins, stamps, bottle caps, erasers, and pocket lint. • A comma before the ‘and’ at the end is essential for clarity • This is formally known as the Oxford Comma Strawberry, peach, coffee, vanilla and chocolate swirl Strawberry, peach, coffee, vanilla, and chocolate swirl. 4 or 5 pints?
Rule 6 These commas can replace the “and” when using multiple words to describe the same noun. • Use a comma to separate adjectives of equal emphasis • She finally moved out of her cold, dark apartment • She finally moved out of her cold and dark apartment.
Rule 7 • Follow direct address with a comma. • Gentlemen, you may be seated. • Students, may I have your attention please? • Bitch, please.
Rule 8, 9, and 10 • 8: set off items in addresses and dates • He found me on February 2, 1978, when I stopped in Fairbanks, Alaska, to buy sunscreen. • 9: set off degrees or titles • The Darwin Award went to Samuel Lyle, Ph.D. • 10: set off dialogue • “Eat hearty,” said Marie, “because this is the last of the food.”