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Sentence struct punct

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Sentence Structure

Sentence Structure

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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.
  • 51. SAMPLE SENTENCE #38 ORIGINAL: The Committee takes pride in their insistence that graduates attain a high level of skill in writing. PROBLEM: “Committee” is singular; “their” is plural. REVISED: The Committee takes pride in its insistence that graduates attain a high level of skill in writing.
  • 52. SAMPLE SENTENCE #39 ORIGINAL: The team wants to express its appreciation to the league for the excellent job of scheduling this year. PROBLEM: None. “Team wants” and “its” are singular. Team is acting as one. REVISED: The team wants to express its appreciation to the league for the excellent job of scheduling this year.
  • 53. REVISING FOR VAGUE PRONOUN REFERENCE
    • Review the following sample sentences (40 - 44), revising for vague pronoun reference. Make sure each pronoun refers to a single, definite antecedent.
  • 54. SAMPLE SENTENCE #40 ORIGINAL: Randy told Dan that a soccer player really should practice more than he did. PROBLEM: Pronoun should refer to a single antecedent. This problem often occurs when using “said” or “told.” REVISED: Randy told Dan, “A soccer player really should practice more than I do.”
  • 55. SAMPLE SENTENCE #41 ORIGINAL: Coach Corum carefully demonstrated the proper kick: with the side of the foot - inside or outside - rather than the toes. This improved the quality of play almost immediately. PROBLEM: Vague use of “this.” Problem also often occurs when using “that.” REVISED: Coach Corum carefully demonstrated the proper kick: with the side of the foot - inside or outside - rather than the toes. This demonstration improved the quality of play almost immediately.
  • 56. SAMPLE SENTENCE #42 ORIGINAL: It is true that when it rains, soccer players ignore it. PROBLEM: There are three acceptable uses of “it,” but they should not be mixed within a single sentence. REVISED: True soccer players generally ignore rain.
  • 57. SAMPLE SENTENCE #43 ORIGINAL: When one makes contact with the ball, you should keep after it. PROBLEM: Use of “you.” Avoid “you” in formal writing. REVISED: When one makes contact with the ball, one should keep after it.
  • 58. SAMPLE SENTENCE #44 ORIGINAL: Younger children, that do not understand the concept of “playing a position,” play what might more accurately be called “bunch ball.” PROBLEM: “That” is generally used only in restrictive clauses. REVISED: Younger children, who do not understand the concept of “playing a position,” play what might more accurately be called “bunch ball.”
  • 59. REVISING FOR MISPLACED MODIFIERS
    • Review the following sample sentences (45 - 50), revising for misplaced modifiers.
  • 60. SAMPLE SENTENCE #45 ORIGINAL: Chris bought a sailboat from a friend with three sets of sails. PROBLEM: Statement seems to assert that the friend (not the boat) had three sets of sails. REVISED: Chris bought a sailboat with three sets of sails from a friend.
  • 61. SAMPLE SENTENCE #46 ORIGINAL: When buying a boat, a number of factors must be considered: moorage, maintenance and storage costs. PROBLEM: Dangling modifier - often seen with an abstract subject and a passive verb. REVISED: When buying a boat, one must consider a number of factors: moorage, maintenance and storage costs.
  • 62. SAMPLE SENTENCE #47 ORIGINAL: Having read about sailing extensively, Lynn had some idea of what to expect. PROBLEM: Misplaced “extensively” modifier. REVISED: Having read extensively about sailing, Lynn had some idea of what to expect.
  • 63. SAMPLE SENTENCE #48 ORIGINAL: She nearly knew everything she needed to know to become a boat owner. PROBLEM: Limiting words do not come right after the words they modify. REVISED: She knew nearly everything she needed to know to become a boat owner.
  • 64. SAMPLE SENTENCE #49 ORIGINAL: There is a difference, however, between being a boat owner and being a sailor that is critical. PROBLEM: Clause that modifies “difference” does not come right after it. REVISED: There is a difference that is critical, however, between being a boat owner and being a sailor.
  • 65. SAMPLE SENTENCE #50 ORIGINAL: The first time she went sailing, shifting winds caused the boom to suddenly and without any advance warning whatever swing across the deck, hitting her head. PROBLEM: Awkward split infinitive; also “advance warning” is redundant. REVISED: The first time she went sailing, shifting winds caused the boom to swing suddenly and without any warning whatever, across the deck, hitting her head.
  • 66. REVISING FOR COMMA PROBLEMS
    • Review the following sample sentences (51 - 55), revising for common comma problems.
  • 67. SAMPLE SENTENCE #51 ORIGINAL: There are two items no self-respecting gentleman farmer can be without: a tractor, and a pickup truck. PROBLEM: Used comma with a coordinating conjunction linking two words, phrases or clauses. REVISED: There are two items no self-respecting gentleman farmer can be without: a tractor and a pickup truck.
  • 68. SAMPLE SENTENCE #52 ORIGINAL: He may have some reason for spending more than $10,000 to buy a new truck, but, chances are he will find one that is used. PROBLEM: Inserted comma after the coordinating conjunction, “but,” that links two independent clauses. REVISED: He may have some reason for spending more than $10,000 to buy a new truck, but chances are he will find one that is used.
  • 69. SAMPLE SENTENCE #53 ORIGINAL: Finding a truck, that costs less than $1500 but doesn’t burn oil, is a challenge. PROBLEM: Used comma to set off nonrestrictive modifier. Didn’t use a comma in a number larger than 999. REVISED: Finding a truck that costs less than $1,500 but doesn’t burn oil is a challenge.
  • 70. SAMPLE SENTENCE #54 ORIGINAL: The battered, farm pickup is as all-American as Mom’s, apple pie. PROBLEM: Used comma between adjectives that are not coordinate adjectives. REVISED: The battered farm pickup is as all-American as Mom’s apple pie.
  • 71. SAMPLE SENTENCE #55 ORIGINAL: Being more than a decade old, having more than 100 thousand miles on the odometer, and boasting at least a dozen dents, are predictable attributes of a truck in this category but the gun rack is optional. PROBLEM: Comma used after the last item in a series; comma is needed before the coordinating conjunction linking two independent clauses. REVISED: Being more than a decade old, having more than 100 thousand miles on the odometer, and boasting at least a dozen dents are predictable attributes of a truck in this category, but the gun rack is optional.
  • 72. REVISING FOR CORRECT USE OF THE SEMICOLON
    • Review the following sample sentences (56 - 60), revising for correct use of the semicolon.
  • 73. SAMPLE SENTENCE #56 ORIGINAL: One unusual development in the U.S. Senate is that three senators in mid-career have simply thrown in the towel, deciding not to run again; Senators Paul Tribe, Republican from Virginia, Lawton Chiles, Jr., Democrat from Florida, and Daniel J. Evans, Republican from Washington. PROBLEM: Used a semicolon (rather than a colon) to introduce a list and a comma (rather than a semicolon) to separate items in a series when those items contain a comma. REVISED: One unusual development in the U.S. Senate is that three senators in mid-career have simply thrown in the towel, deciding not to run again: Senators Paul Tribe, Republican from Virginia; Lawton Chiles, Jr., Democrat from Florida, and Daniel J. Evans, Republican from Washington.
  • 74. SAMPLE SENTENCE #57 ORIGINAL: Evans has argued that the reason for this unprecedented desertion of public life is that being a senator is not as gratifying as one might expect, instead it is “six years of frustrating gridlock.” PROBLEM: Did not use a semicolon to separate independent clauses joined by a conjunctive adverb. REVISED: Evans has argued that the reason for this unprecedented desertion of public life is that being a senator is not as gratifying as one might expect; instead it is “six years of frustrating gridlock.”
  • 75. SAMPLE SENTENCE #58 ORIGINAL: Senators resorted to filibustering, a stalling tactic, only nineteen times in the twenty-five-year period ending in 1965; but since then there have been 115 filibusters. PROBLEM: None. Appropriately used a semicolon between two independent clauses joined by a conjunction when the clauses are long and contain commas. REVISED: Senators resorted to filibustering, a stalling tactic, only nineteen times in the twenty-five-year period ending in 1965; but since then there have been 115 filibusters.
  • 76. SAMPLE SENTENCE #59 ORIGINAL: Because of frequent roll-call votes; it is difficult for a senator to plan his or her day. PROBLEM: Used a semicolon between a dependent clause and an independent clause. REVISED: Because of frequent roll-call votes, it is difficult for a senator to plan his or her day.
  • 77. SAMPLE SENTENCE #60 ORIGINAL: Senators once spent a good deal of time with their constituents, now they rarely get out of Washington. PROBLEM: Used a comma to join two closely related independent clauses. REVISED: Senators once spent a good deal of time with their constituents; now they rarely get out of Washington.
  • 78. GUSTAVE CAILLEBOTE’S PARIS, A RAINY DAY
  • 79. SPRINGBOARD FOR EDITING
    • Attention to detail is an important part of the creative process. No detail is too small for artists who want their work taken seriously.
    • Here the French impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894) pays attention to detail. As in good descriptive writing, the kind of detail that gets attention is sensory detail.
    • To which of the five senses does the painter appeal in his attempt to evoke the feel of a rainy day in Paris?
    • Which details of the painting seem to you to contribute to this overall effect?
  • 80. EDITING
    • An important kind of attention to detail comes into play when we edit.
    • We are trying to eliminate any glitch in sentence structure, grammar, spelling or punctuation that will jar or distract our readers by diverting their attention to unorthodox or incorrect features of our language.
  • 81. EDITING PRACTICE
    • The following paragraph was written in response to the question:
      • “ To which senses does Caillebotte appeal in order to convey the feel of a rainy day in Paris?”
    • First read the entire paragraph.
    • Then edit the passage, fixing anything that needs fixing.
  • 82. SAMPLE PARAGRAPH #1
    • In his painting of a rainy day in Paris at least three senses are addressed. There are obvious visual cues. Everyone carries shiny umbrellas. On a rainy day, when their’s barely enough sun to cast shadows. One might expect to be gray. This is what you get here. Grey predominates. Buildings, streets, umbrellas, even the people’s dress is grey shading into black. The only exceptions are the flesh tones of the hands and faces and the reds and greens of the building on the right, and even these are muted, less brilliant than it would appear on a rainy day. People must be a little chilly, they are bundled up in coats. The man in left center…
  • 83. SAMPLE PARAGRAPH #1 (con’t)
    • … is walking briskly and hunkering down under his umbrella. As if he wants to get there rather than look around. The couple in the foreground are the only people comfortable enough to take in their surroundings. Everything about the painting is rough. To be sure, the weather is rough. But so is the setting. From the jagged building in the back ground to the paving stones of the foreground. Umbrellas, cobblestones and sidewalks are all slick with rain and water puddles up between the cobbles. With a little imagination, we can hear the splash of feet on wet pavement and the rattle of carriages over stones.
  • 84. EDIT AGAIN
    • One good general editing principle is that when the piece you are editing contains a number of errors, you probably aren’t going to catch them all in a single pass.
    • Edit the passage again with the help of the following checklist. Check for:
      • Sentence fragments, comma splices or fused sentences.
      • Awkward shifts in person, number, tense.
      • Misplaced or dangling modifiers.
      • Incorrect verb forms; subject-verb agreement.
      • Clear and correct pronoun-antecedent references.
      • Correct possessive forms.
      • Spelling, punctuation, capitalization, etc.