Grammar gremlins
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Powerpoint presentation on recognizing and fixing sentence fragments, comma splices, and run-ons.

Powerpoint presentation on recognizing and fixing sentence fragments, comma splices, and run-ons.

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    Grammar gremlins Grammar gremlins Presentation Transcript

    • BEFORE The Tutoring & Learning Center AFTER attending Presents attending thethe workshop workshop GRAMMAR GREMLINS Understand basic sentence structure and eliminate errors that bedevil your writing such as sentence fragments, run-on sentences, and comma splices. Take the steps to develop a polished writing style that will help you get through your courses. Facilitator: Julie Ewing
    • What is…•a sentence fragment?
    • What is…•a sentence fragment?•a comma splice?
    • What is…•a sentence fragment?•a comma splice?•a run-on sentence?
    • In order to answer those questions, we first need to answer a more important question: What is a sentence?
    • A sentence is not merely a group of words with a capital letter at thebeginning and a period or question mark at the end. A complete sentence has three components:• a subject (the actor in the sentence)• a predicate (the verb or action), and• a complete thought (it can stand alone and make sense—its independent).
    • Example:Subject Predicate• Mary drove. • Mary drove from New York to Los Angeles.This sentence has a subject (Mary) and • Mary drove from New York to Los a verb (drove), and it expresses a Angeles last Tuesday. complete thought. We can understand the idea completely • Mary drove her brand new, cherry- with just those two words, so again, red convertible from New York to Los its independent—an independent Angeles last Tuesday. clause. But independent clauses (i.e., complete sentences) can be • Mary drove her brand new, cherry- expanded to contain a lot more red convertible from New York to Los information, like this: Angeles last Tuesday because she had an audition for a part in the new Sylvester Stallone movie.
    • As your sentences grow more complicated, it gets harder to spot and stay focused on the basic elements of a complete sentence, but if you look carefully at the examples above, youll see that the main thought is still that Mary drove—one main subject and one main verb. No matter how long or short the other sentence parts are, none of them can stand alone and make sense.Being able to find the main subject, the main verb, and the complete thought is the first trick to learn for identifying fragments, comma splices, and run-ons.
    • What is a sentence fragment?A sentence fragment is an incomplete sentence. It lacks a subject, a verb, or both.• Flying from New York to Los Angeles. (Who or what was flying?)• Last Tuesday, the hottest day of the year. (What happened Tuesday?)• In her brand new, cherry-red convertible. (Who and what did she do?• A tired, filthy, rangy mutt. (What about the mutt?)
    • Fixing Sentence FragmentsDetermine what is missing (noun, verb, both) and add it:Flight 892 was flying from New York to Los Angeles.The pilot who was flying from New York to Los Angeles has 25 years of flight experience.Flying from New York to Los Angeles can be exhausting.
    • The fragments that most students have trouble with, however, are dependent clauses—they have a subject and a verb, so they look like complete sentences, but they dont express a complete thought. Theyre called "dependent" because they cant stand on their own :• Because she had an audition for a part in the new Sylvester Stallone movie.• As she accelerated faster and faster down the empty highway.
    • Combining Dependent and Independent ClausesThe original fragmented Combine the two clauses:sentence:Mary drove her brand new, Mary drove her brand new, cherry-red convertible from cherry-red convertible from New York to Los Angeles. New York to Los Angeles Because she had an because she had an audition for a part in the audition for a part in the new Sylvester Stallone new Sylvester Stallone movie. movie.
    • Recognizing Sentence FragmentsIf you have trouble seeing the sentence fragments in your writing, try this:• Read your paper aloud, one sentence at a time.• Preface each sentence with the words “I think that.”• If it doesn’t make sense, it’s a fragment and needs revision.
    • Which one works?• (I think that) Mary drove her brand new, cherry-red convertible from New York to Los Angeles.• (I think that) because she had an audition for a part in the new Sylvester Stallone movie.
    • Which of the following sentences are fragments?Surfing the Internet now competes withwatching television as our national pastime.People, it seems, have a natural ability to sitfor hour upon hour. Passively watching imagesflit before their eyes. Whether these appearon a TV screen or a computer screen. Doesn’tseem to make much difference. What countsare the images themselves. Not where theycome from.
    • The corrected version:Surfing the Internet now competes withwatching television as our national pastime.People, it seems, have a natural ability to sitfor hour upon hour, passively watching imagesflit before their eyes. Whether these appearon a TV screen or a computer screen doesn’tseem to make much difference. What countsare the images themselves, not where theycome from.
    • The “I think that” method Works about 95% of the time. However, it doesn’t work for:• Questions (I think that how are you?)• Commands (I think that sit down!)• Exclamations (I think that yippee!)
    • What is a comma splice? What is a run-on sentence? Comma Splice Run-onA comma splice is a sentence A run-on is a sentence error in error in which the writer which the writer incorrectly incorrectly connects two connects (or fuses) two complete sentences with a complete sentences with no comma: punctuation:• John didn’t bother to study • John didn’t bother to study for the exam, he was for the exam he was confident he knew the confident he knew the material. material.
    • The “smart” errorsStudents often create comma splices and run- ons because they instinctively realize that there is a relationship between the two ideas. Using a period doesn’t seem right:John didn’t bother to study for the exam. He was confident he knew the material.
    • How to fix comma splices and run-onsYou have many options:• Use a comma and a coordinating conjunction: (FANBOYS) (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so)John didn’t bother to study for the exam, for he was confident he knew the material.
    • • Use a semicolon:John didn’t bother to study for the exam; he was confident he knew the material.• Use a subordinating conjunction to make one of the clauses dependent: (because, although, as, while, when, after, since, unless, if, etc.)John didn’t bother to study for the exam because he was confident he knew the material.
    • • Use a period to create two sentences:John didn’t bother to study for the exam. He was confident he knew the material.• Try to turn the two clauses into one clause:John’s confidence in the material kept him from studying for the exam.
    • Recognizing comma splices and run-onsFixing comma splices and run-ons is pretty easy once you see them—but how do you find out if a sentence is a run-on if you arent sure? You can test your sentences with two methods:• Turn them into yes/no questions.• Turn them into tag questions (sentences that end with a questioning phrase).
    • Look at the following sentence:John didn’t bother to study for the exam.• If you turn it into a question that someone could answer with a yes or no, it looks like this:Did John bother to study for the exam?• If you turn it into a tag question, it looks like this:John didn’t bother to study for the exam, did he?
    • Now try it with the original run-on sentence:John didn’t bother to study for the exam he was confident he knew the material.The yes/no question can only be made with each separate thought, not the sentence as a whole:Did John bother to study for the exam? Was he confident he knew the material?The tag question can also only be made with each separate thought, rather than the whole:John didn’t bother to study for the exam, did he? He was confident he knew the material, wasn’t he?
    • Now that you know how to recognize and fix sentence fragments, comma splices, and run- ons, you can apply these tests and corrections to your own writing and never be plagued by these errors again!
    • Works Cited“Fragments and Run-ons.” The Writing Center. Ed. Kimberly Abels. 8 August 2008. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 16 April 2009. <http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/fragme nts.html>.Hacker, Diana. Rules for Writers. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004.“Sentence Fragments.” Guide to Grammar and Writing. 2004. Capital Community College Foundation. 16 April 2009. <http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/GRAMMAR/fragm ents.htm>.