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University of South Florida-Ian Rylott
ENC 1102 Spring 2009
• While proofreading you will want to also
consider all commas in your document. Here
are some things to look for which I will also go
into more detail about in slides to come.
Run-on sentences or fused sentence.
• A valuable mnemonic tool to help remember
coordinating conjunctions is FANBOYS.
• Skim your paper, looking only for the seven
• Stop at each of these words to see whether
there is an independent clause (a complete
sentence), on both sides of it.
• If so, place a comma before the coordinating
She wanted to buy a new car, but she didn't have enough
money to do so.
The wind blew fiercely, and the rain poured down.
Alaska was not the last state admitted into the US, nor does it
have the lowest total population.
• Stop at every comma.
• See whether you have an independent clause (a
sentence) on both sides of the comma.
• If so, change the sentence in one of the following
reword the sentence to change one clause into a
subordinate (or dependent) clause
add a coordinating conjunction after the comma
replace the comma with a semicolon
replace the comma with a period, question mark, or
exclamation point, and capitalize the first word of the
second clause comma splice:
incorrect: Americans speak too rapidly, this is a common
complaint by foreign visitors.
correct: Americans speak too rapidly; this is a common
complaint by foreign visitors.
correct: Foreign visitors commonly complain that Americans
speak too rapidly. (Purdue)
• Skim your paper, looking only at the first word or two of
• Stop if the word or phrase . . .
ends in -ing
is an infinitive (to + verb)
is an introductory word (well, yes, moreover, etc.)
• Place a comma at the end of the introductory phrase.
To get a good grade, you must turn in all your homework
Walking to work, Jim stopped for coffee at the diner.
Yes, I agree that the exam was difficult.
• If the sentence begins with a prepositional phrase (a
phrase beginning with in, at, on, between, with, etc.),
place a comma after the prepositional phrase if it is
longer than three words or suggests a distinct pause
before the main clause.
On his way to work, Jim stopped for coffee at the diner.
In those days we wrote with a pen and paper.
Across the street from the library, an old man waited for a bus.
Introductory Commas after
• Skim your paper, looking only at the first two or
three words of each sentence.
• Stop if one of these words is a dependent
marker such as while, because, when, if, after,
• If necessary, place a comma at the end of the
introductory dependent clause.
While I was writing, the phone rang.
Because the weather was bad, we decided to
cancel our planned picnic.
After the last guests left the party, we had to
begin cleaning the house. (Purdue)
• If you don’t need the comma then don’t use
• Between subjects
• Between compound
verbs or objects
That man sitting in the
They bought two
train station, is the
pizzas, but ate only
person I'm supposed
correct: They bought
correct: That man
two pizzas but ate
sitting in the train
station is the person
I'm supposed to meet.
• A RUN-ON SENTENCE (sometimes called a
quot;fused sentencequot;) has at least two parts, either one
of which can stand by itself (in other words, two
independent clauses), but the two parts have been
smooshed together instead of being properly
Please be in your seat when the bell rings, as class
begins at that time. (ccc)
• These are inappropriate ways to join sentences together
because readers need a signal that one main clause is
ending and another is beginning.
• If the correct signal is not present, a reader can become
momentarily confused, and the sequence of ideas will
become difficult to follow. In essence, the sentences will
• Hopefully this short presentation was helpful to you.
However, there are millions of online resources to help
you if further questions arise. A few of these are my
references on the next slide.
• Here are a few just to save you time.
The Writing Lab, The OWL at Purdue, & Purdue University. (2004). Proofreading for
commas. Retrieved April 22, 2009, from
S.E. Smith, Wisegeek. What is a comma splice? Retrieved April 22, 2009, from
The Guide To Grammar & Writing, Capital Community College Foundation. Run-on
Sentences, Comma Splices. Retrieved April 22, 2009, from
LEO: Literacy Education Online, St. Cloud State University. (2004). Avoiding Comma
Splices, Fused Sentences, and Run-Ons. Retrieved April 22, 2009, from