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Sentence Structure and Punctuation

Sentence Structure and Punctuation

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Sentence Structure and Punctuation

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  1. Sentence Structure and Punctuation

  2. SENTENCE FRAGMENTS • Is there a verb? If no, there is a sentence fragment. NOTE: “Jumping,” “jumped,” “to jump” cannot function as the verb in a sentence. • Is there a subject? If no, there is a sentence fragment. • If the text begins with a subordinating word (e.g. “although,” “when,” “while,” “before,” etc.) without an independent clause, there is a sentence fragment.

  3. TESTING FOR SENTENCE COMPLETENESS Test the following sample sentences (1 – 5) for completeness and rewrite any sentence fragments.

  4. SAMPLE SENTENCE #1 ORIGINAL: Friends taking turns at the rock climb, helping and joking with each other. PROBLEM: No verb; “taking” is a present participle and cannot function as a main verb in a sentence. REVISED: Friends took turns at the rock climb, helping and joking with each other.

  5. SAMPLE SENTENCE #2 ORIGINAL: She retold the story. A story recently learned. PROBLEM: No verb; “learned” is a past participle. REVISED: She retold the story, one she had recently learned.

  6. SAMPLE SENTENCE #3 ORIGINAL: The deer stopped momentarily, confused. Ran down the hall. PROBLEM: No subject in second sentence. REVISED: The deer stopped momentarily confused, then ran down the hall.

  7. SAMPLE SENTENCE #4 ORIGINAL: The roster is studded with names that will be feared by college wrestlers for years to come. Names like Broderic Lee, two-time state high school champion. Hiag Brown, returning letterman. PROBLEM: Last two sentences lack verbs. REVISED: The roster is studded with names that will be feared by college wrestlers for years to come, like Broderic Lee, two-time state high school champion, and Hiag Brown, returning letterman.

  8. SAMPLE SENTENCE #5 ORIGINAL: Mom was sitting in her chair, in the same posture as Casey. The only difference being her gaze was fixed at a point about ten feet in front of her face. PROBLEM: No verb; “being” is substituted for a verb in the second sentence. REVISED: …The only difference was that her gaze….

  9. RUN-ON SENTENCES • Run-on sentences occur when two sentences are incorrectly joined. • Examples: • SENTENCE, SENTENCE (comma splice) • SENTENCE SENTENCE (fused sentence)

  10. ACCEPTABLE SENTENCE JOINS • SENTENCE, AND SENTENCE. (comma + coordinating conjunction (“and,” “or,” “but”)) • SENTENCE; SENTENCE. (semicolon) • IF-CLAUSE, SENTENCE. (turn one sentence into a subordinate clause) • SENTENCE IF-CLAUSE. (“ “) • SENTENCE. SENTENCE. (leave as two sentences)

  11. REVISING TO AVOID COMMA SPLICES AND FUSED SENTENCES Review the following sample sentences (6 – 10) and rewrite any comma splices or fused sentences.

  12. SAMPLE SENTENCE #6 ORIGINAL: At first my Japanese was very poor and communication was slow but with practice my Japanese improved rapidly. PROBLEM: Fused sentence. Correct by using “but” to subordinate REVISED: At first my Japanese was very poor and communication was slow, but with practice my Japanese improved rapidly.

  13. SAMPLE SENTENCE #7 ORIGINAL: The program uses no tax dollars, it is a private program which follows the new direction for space development set by the president. PROBLEM: Comma splice. REVISED: The program uses no tax dollars. It is a private program which follows the new direction for space development set by the president.

  14. SAMPLE SENTENCE #8 ORIGINAL: She was not able to admit she was an alcoholic in fact she did not even think she had a problem. PROBLEM: Fused sentence. REVISED: She was not able to admit she was an alcoholic; in fact, she did not even think she had a problem.

  15. SAMPLE SENTENCE #9 ORIGINAL: It was time-consuming but that didn’t seem to matter we started to enjoy the rides, and it brought us closer. PROBLEM: Comma splice and fused sentence. REVISED: It was time-consuming, but that didn’t seem to matter. We started to enjoy the rides, and it brought us closer.

  16. SAMPLE SENTENCE #10 ORIGINAL: I hit him and he bled. PROBLEM: Fused sentence. NOTE: Many writers would not add a comma to this sentence because the two independent clauses are very short. REVISED: I hit him, and he bled.

  17. FAULTY PREDICATION • Occasionally, by the time you get to the end of a sentence, you have forgotten how it started. The result can be faulty predication, which occurs when the subject and the predicate of the sentence do not make sense together. • The most common causes of these errors are: • Using the linking verb “to be.” • Using “is when” or “is where” when not speaking of a time or place. • Redundancy: “the reason is…because.”

  18. REVISING FOR FAULTY PREDICATION Review the following sample sentences (11- 16) and revise for faulty predication.

  19. SAMPLE SENTENCE #11 ORIGINAL: Voters, divided over income tax cuts, represented considerable savings for the wealthy. PROBLEM: “Voters” don’t “represent” savings; tax cuts do. REVISED: Voters were divided over income tax cuts, which represented considerable savings for the wealthy.

  20. SAMPLE SENTENCE #12 ORIGINAL: “Burnout” is when employees have so much work that they have no time to relax. PROBLEM: “Burnout” is a psychological state, not a time “when…” REVISED: “Burnout” is a psychological state that occurs when employees have so much work that they have no time to relax.

  21. SAMPLE SENTENCE #13 ORIGINAL: The reason he failed the exam was because he didn’t study. PROBLEM: Redundant: used “reason” and “because.” REVISED: The reason he failed the exam was that he didn’t study.

  22. SAMPLE SENTENCE #14 ORIGINAL: Dramatic irony is where the audience knows something more than, or other than, the character. PROBLEM: “Dramatic irony” is not a place. REVISED: Dramatic irony occurs when the audience knows something more than, or other than, the character.

  23. SAMPLE SENTENCE #15 ORIGINAL: By analyzing his business records carefully suggests he is guilty of fraud and income tax evasion. PROBLEM: “By analyzing” cannot function as the subject. REVISED: Analyzing his business records carefully suggests he is guilty of fraud and income tax evasion.

  24. SAMPLE SENTENCE #16 ORIGINAL: This new information asks some important questions about the reliability of the research team’s original findings. PROBLEM: Information doesn’t ask - people do. REVISED: This new information suggests some important questions about the reliability of the research team’s original findings.

  25. REVISING FOR SHIFTS OF VERB TENSE Review the following sample sentences (17- 22) and eliminate inappropriate or illogical verb tenses.

  26. SAMPLE SENTENCE #17 ORIGINAL: Many times I became so frustrated with the workload that I just want to give up, especially during midterms or finals when the tension is at its peak. PROBLEM: “Became” is past tense; “want” and “is” are present tense. REVISED: Many times I became so frustrated with the workload that I just wanted to give up, especially during midterms or finals when the tension was at its peak.

  27. SAMPLE SENTENCE #18 ORIGINAL: The survey indicated that both men and women liked the ads more when the models are attractive. PROBLEM: “Indicated” and “liked” are past tense; “are” is present tense. REVISED: The survey indicated that both men and women liked the ads more when the models were attractive.

  28. SAMPLE SENTENCE #19 ORIGINAL: My Psychology professor, Dr. Hayes, wanted his students to establish realistic goals that are not too hard. PROBLEM: “Wanted” is past tense; “are” is present tense. REVISED: My Psychology professor, Dr. Hayes, wants his students to establish realistic goals that are not too hard.

  29. SAMPLE SENTENCE #20 ORIGINAL: Kael feels that Kovac’s shots were a little too harsh for a comedy, and she had mixed feelings about the characters. PROBLEM: “Feels” is present tense; “were” and “had” are past tense. REVISED: Kael feels that Kovac’s shots are a little too harsh for a comedy, and she has mixed feelings about the characters.

  30. SAMPLE SENTENCE #21 ORIGINAL: I found myself slipping into a fantasy world, where there are two minutes left in the championship game. PROBLEM: “Found” is past tense; “are” is present tense. REVISED: I found myself slipping into a fantasy world, where there were two minutes left in the championship game.

  31. SAMPLE SENTENCE #22 ORIGINAL: What should she have done when she finds herself wealthy, having inherited her grandfather’s fortune? PROBLEM: “have done” and “having inherited” are past tense; “finds” is present tense. REVISED: What should she have done when she found herself wealthy, having inherited her grandfather’s fortune?

  32. ELIMINATING SHIFTS IN PERSON OR NUMBER Review the following sample sentences (23 - 28) and eliminate shifts in person or number.

  33. SAMPLE SENTENCE #23 ORIGINAL: For a person to find adequate day care, they may have to pay $500 or more per month. PROBLEM: “Person” is singular; “they” is plural. REVISED: For a couple to find adequate day care, they may have to pay $500 or more per month.

  34. SAMPLE SENTENCE #24 ORIGINAL: I’d like to work outside the home, but you wonder if you will be able to handle the additional stress. PROBLEM: “I” and “you” are not the same person. REVISED: I’d like to work outside the home, but I wonder if I would be able to handle the additional stress.

  35. SAMPLE SENTENCE #25 ORIGINAL: When one makes a few phone calls to day-care operations, you find they have long waiting lists. PROBLEM: “One” and “you” are not the same person. REVISED: When one makes a few phone calls to day-care operations, one finds they have long waiting lists.

  36. SAMPLE SENTENCE #26 ORIGINAL: People who have to deal with a bad child-care situation make a preoccupied and unproductive worker. PROBLEM: “People” is plural; “a… worker” is singular. REVISED: People who have to deal with a bad child-care situation make preoccupied and unproductive workers.

  37. SAMPLE SENTENCE #27 ORIGINAL: Industry has been slow to learn that they benefit from subsidizing child care. PROBLEM: “Industry has” is singular; “they” is plural. REVISED: Industries have been slow to learn that they benefit from subsidizing child care.

  38. SAMPLE SENTENCE #28 ORIGINAL: Most parents would breathe easier if child care attracted more qualified employees, but if you work in a day-care center now you probably make close to minimum wage. PROBLEM: “Employees” is plural; “you” is singular. REVISED: Most parents would breathe easier if child care attracted more qualified employees, but those who work in day-care centers now make close to minimum wage.

  39. REVISING FOR AGREEMENT WITH INDEFINITE PRONOUNS Review the following sample sentences (29 - 33), revising for agreement with indefinite pronouns.

  40. SAMPLE SENTENCE #29 ORIGINAL: Some of the marbles is lost. PROBLEM: “Some” is plural; “is” is singular. NOTE: “Some,” “none,” “most,” “any” and “all” can be singular or plural, depending on the context. Since the “marbles” to which “some” refers can be counted, the pronoun is regarded as plural in this sample. REVISED: Some of the marbles are lost.

  41. SAMPLE SENTENCE #30 ORIGINAL: Some of the soup is gone. PROBLEM: None. “Some” and “is” are both appropriately singular. NOTE: Soup cannot be counted, so here the pronoun “some” is treated as singular. REVISED: Some of the soup is gone.

  42. SAMPLE SENTENCE #31 ORIGINAL: Everybody in the whole stadium was confident that they had the winning ticket. PROBLEM: “Everybody” and “was” are singular; “they” is plural. NOTE: “Everybody” is always singular. Think “every single body.” REVISED: Everybody in the whole stadium was confident that he or she had the winning ticket.

  43. SAMPLE SENTENCE #32 ORIGINAL: Each of the local runners were proud of their times. PROBLEM: “Each” is singular; “were” and “their” are plural. NOTE: “Each” is always singular. Think “each one.” REVISED: Each of the local runners was proud of his or her time.

  44. SAMPLE SENTENCE #33 ORIGINAL: I don’t know any who were disappointed. PROBLEM: None. “Any” and “were” are plural. NOTE: “Any” refers to individuals - who can be counted - so it is plural. REVISED: I don’t know any who were disappointed.

  45. COLLECTIVE NOUNS • A collective noun names a group of people or things. • When the group acts as a single unit, use a singular verb or pronoun. • When the group members can function separately, use a plural verb or pronoun.

  46. REVISING FOR AGREEMENT WITH COLLECTIVE NOUNS Review the following sample sentences (34 - 39), revising for agreement with collective nouns.

  47. SAMPLE SENTENCE #34 ORIGINAL: During the summer, the faculty is engaged in various forms of recreation and research. PROBLEM: “Faculty” is plural (faculty members are acting as individuals); “is” is singular. REVISED: During the summer, the faculty are engaged in various forms of recreation and research.

  48. SAMPLE SENTENCE #35 ORIGINAL: At halftime the band march onto the field. PROBLEM: “Band” is singular (band acts as one entity); “march” is plural. REVISED: At halftime the band marches onto the field.

  49. SAMPLE SENTENCE #36 ORIGINAL: At commencement each year, the faculty awards at least one honorary doctorate to distinguished alumni. PROBLEM: None. “Faculty” and “awards” are both singular. Faculty is singular here because it is acting as a group. REVISED: At commencement each year, the faculty awards at least one honorary doctorate to distinguished alumni.

  50. SAMPLE SENTENCE #37 ORIGINAL: At the first hint of rain, the band donned their slickers. PROBLEM: None. “Band” and “their” are both plural. The band is plural here because members are acting as individuals. REVISED: At the first hint of rain, the band donned their slickers.