Grammar for Journalists


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This 100-slide presentation provides a crash course in grammar for journalists.

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Grammar for Journalists

  1. 2. <ul><li>Compiled by: </li></ul><ul><li>Mark Grabowski </li></ul><ul><li>Journalism Professor </li></ul><ul><li>Marist College </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  2. 3. Introduction <ul><li>This is just a crash course. I’m not going to attempt to teach you everything about grammar. If you’re taking my journalism class, you’ve probably been in school for 16 to 20 years, so hopefully you have a decent foundation in the English language and its usage. So, today’s lesson will focus only on the grammar issues that most commonly arise for journalists. Carefully reading through this slideshow should take about as long as one class period. </li></ul>
  3. 4. “ But I thought this was a journalism class, not an English composition class?” <ul><li>Good point. As you’ll learn this semester, writing for journalism is quite different than writing for an English class. But many of the fundamentals you learned in English class still apply to journalism. </li></ul><ul><li>Before you can be a good journalist, you need to be a good writer, period. And that means having a strong grasp on grammar. </li></ul><ul><li>Grammar is so important to journalism that some journalism schools have entire courses devoted to grammar. </li></ul>
  4. 5. Why study grammar? <ul><li>Journalists need to be correct . Poor grammar turns off readers. </li></ul><ul><li>Journalists should be consistent – that requires rules. </li></ul><ul><li>Writing should be clear . You know what you mean, but do others? </li></ul>
  5. 6. O RLY? <ul><li>Brushing up on grammar is particularly important for young journalists. If you were born after 1985, you probably spend a lot of time communicating online. Consequently, you may have developed some bad writing habits. Writing that is acceptable in e-mails to your friends or on Facebook Wall posts is not suitable for this journalism class. SRSLY, dood. </li></ul>
  6. 7. One more reason: <ul><li>You won’t be tested on this slideshow, but you will lose points on your tests and assignments if you make grammatical mistakes. </li></ul>
  7. 8. Overview of today’s lesson: <ul><li>1) Three tips that will instantly improve your journalism writing. </li></ul><ul><li>2) 20 common grammatical mistakes journalists make. </li></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>First, a few writing tips </li></ul>So, let’s begin…
  9. 10. 1. Mix up sentence length <ul><li>Experienced journalists use a variety of sentences to make their writing interesting and lively. Too many simple sentences, for example, will sound choppy and immature while too many long sentences will be difficult to read and hard to understand. </li></ul>
  10. 11. Simple sentences <ul><li>A simple sentence, also called an independent clause, contains a subject and a verb, and it expresses a complete thought. In the examples below, the subjects are underlined and the verbs are italicized . </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><li>a) Some students like to study in the mornings. </li></ul><ul><li>b) Juan and Arturo play football every afternoon. </li></ul><ul><li>c) Alicia goes to the library and studies every day. </li></ul>
  11. 12. Note: <ul><li>The three previous examples are all simple sentences.  Note that sentence B contains a compound subject, and sentence C contains a compound verb.  Simple sentences, therefore, contain a subject and verb and express a complete thought, but they can also contain a compound subjects or verbs.  </li></ul>
  12. 13. Compound sentences <ul><li>A compound sentence contains two independent clauses joined by a coordinator. The coordinators are as follows: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. (Helpful hint: The first letter of each of the coordinators spells FANBOYS.) Except for very short sentences, coordinators are always preceded by a comma. In the examples below, the coordinators are underlined . </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><li>a) I tried to speak Spanish, and my friend tried to speak English.  </li></ul><ul><li>b) Alejandro played football, so Maria went shopping.  </li></ul><ul><li>c) Alejandro played football, for Maria went shopping. </li></ul>
  13. 14. Note: <ul><li>The previous three sentences are compound sentences.  Each sentence contains two independent clauses, and they are joined by a coordinator with a comma preceding it.  </li></ul>
  14. 15. Compound sentence <ul><li>A complex sentence has an independent clause joined by one or more dependent clauses. A complex sentence always has a subordinator such as because, since, after, although, or when or a relative pronoun such as that, who, or which. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><li>a) When he handed in his homework, he forgot to give the teacher the last page.  b) The teacher returned the homework after she noticed the error.  c) The students are studying because they have a test tomorrow. d) After they finished studying, Juan and Maria went to the movies.  e) Juan and Maria went to the movies after they finished studying. </li></ul>
  15. 16. Note: <ul><li>When a complex sentence begins with a subordinator such as sentences A and D, a comma is required at the end of the dependent clause. When the independent clause begins the sentence with subordinators in the middle as in sentences B, C, and E, no comma is required. If a comma is placed before the subordinators in sentences B, C, and E, it is wrong. </li></ul>
  16. 17. 2. Use pronouns <ul><li>Basic definition of a pronoun: it takes the place of a noun. </li></ul><ul><li>Nouns are pretty basic parts of speech, and we like them (because they're easy to identify), so why do we need pronouns at all? </li></ul>
  17. 18. Here’s why. Below is a sentence that does NOT replace nouns with pronouns: <ul><li>Because Dr. Carter's mother faints at the sight of medical instruments, Dr. Carter has to drug Dr. Carter's mother secretly every time Dr. Carter takes Dr. Carter's mother's temperature. </li></ul><ul><li>Obviously, this sentence is WAY too long and cumbersome and could use some help with pronouns. How would you fix it? Here’s how: </li></ul><ul><li>Because Dr. Carter's mother faints at the sight of medical instruments, he has to drug her secretly every time he takes her temperature. </li></ul>
  18. 19. Different kinds of pronouns <ul><li>Personal (stands in for a person or thing) ex.: He is a fabulous specimen of the modern-day iconoclast.  </li></ul><ul><li>Possessive (shows possession) ex.: His hair is bright purple. </li></ul><ul><li>Intensive (emphasizes using a &quot;self&quot; word) ex.: He has made a pact with himself never to wear natural fibers. </li></ul>
  19. 20. <ul><li>Reflexive (refers to self as an object; bouncing back) ex.: He pierced his nose himself.  </li></ul><ul><li>Relative (relates to antecedent, introduces clause) ex.: This is what he told his boss, who has implemented a restrictive dress code. </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrative (points out) ex.: These are the issues of their disagreement. </li></ul>
  20. 21. <ul><li>Indefinite (noncommittal; refers to no one in particular) ex.: No one wants to step in to settle it. </li></ul><ul><li>Reciprocal (involves an exchange) ex.: Their respect for each other has kept them from becoming violent. </li></ul><ul><li>Interrogative (poses questions) ex.: What will happen now? </li></ul>
  21. 22. Pronoun agreement <ul><li>In addition to bringing benefits, pronouns also bring some potential pitfalls. When we're using pronouns, we have to be sure they &quot;agree&quot; with what they stand in for; in other words, they have to represent accurately what it is they have replaced. </li></ul>
  22. 23. Pronoun agreement <ul><li>A plural antecedent (that's the word the pronoun is replacing) requires a plural pronoun. A singular antecedent requires a singular pronoun. A singular subject requires a singular verb. A plural subject requires a plural verb. Confusion results when singular and plural nouns are used interchangeably: &quot;Springfield is having a good baseball season.&quot; But &quot;The Isotopes are having a good baseball season.&quot; </li></ul>
  23. 24. Two confusing cases <ul><li>1. Collective nouns such as team or committee can take either singular or plural verbs and pronouns. Generally, these should be treated as singular, requiring singular pronouns and verbs. The exception should be if the members of the collective unit aren't acting as a unit. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: &quot;The couple were fighting regularly before their separation.&quot; This is again a time when you should consider rewriting because it doesn't sound right: Instead, write: &quot;Tony and Carmella were fighting regularly before their separation.“ </li></ul>
  24. 25. Two confusing cases <ul><li>2. Some compound subjects might appear plural but actually be singular because the two elements become a single unit: </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Peanut butter and jelly is Bart's favorite sandwich.&quot; </li></ul>
  25. 26. Who and Whom <ul><li>A general rule is to use who as the subject of a verb. Otherwise, use whom. (Same with whoever and whomever). </li></ul>
  26. 27. Who vs. Whom <ul><li>Two ways to help you determine which to use: </li></ul><ul><li>1) Find the verb or verbs. If the pronoun does the action of a verb, it's who or whoever. </li></ul><ul><li>2) Rewrite the sentence, using he or him in place of who or whom, and rephrasing the sentence appropriately. For instance, &quot;Who do you trust?&quot; may not sound wrong to you. But &quot;Do you trust he?&quot; certainly does. You can see that it would be &quot;Do you trust him?&quot; so you know it should be &quot;Whom do you trust?&quot; </li></ul>
  27. 28. Possessive Pronouns <ul><li>The rule here is simple: Possessive pronouns don't use apostrophes. His, hers, whose, yours, theirs, ours, its. If it's a possessive, it's spelled without an apostrophe. </li></ul>
  28. 29. Possessive Pronouns <ul><li>The confusion here results because some contractions, which do use apostrophes, are spelled the same as some possessives, except for the apostrophe. Whose and theirs sometimes end up with incorrect apostrophes, but the worst offender is its. </li></ul><ul><li>Take the last sentence in the previous paragraph. Spelled out, it would be: If it is a possessive, it is spelled without an apostrophe. In both instances, it's is a contraction, so both need apostrophes. </li></ul><ul><li>To decide whether you should use the apostrophe, ask whether you can substitute it is or it has. For instance, &quot;It's really important to write clearly&quot; is the same as &quot;It is really important to write clearly.&quot; But &quot;I have trouble matching a pronoun with it's antecedent&quot; looks really silly when you substitute it is or it has. So it should be &quot;I have trouble matching a pronoun with its antecedent.&quot; </li></ul>
  29. 30. 3. Writing in active voice <ul><li>In journalism – and in most nonscientific writing situations – active voice is preferable to passive for your sentences. Even in scientific writing, overuse of passive voice or use of passive voice in long and complicated sentences can cause readers to lose interest or to become confused. Sentences in active voice are generally – though not always – clearer and more direct than those in passive voice. Some examples follow… </li></ul>
  30. 31. Passive (indirect): Active (direct):
  31. 32. Passive (indirect): Active (direct):
  32. 33. Passive (indirect): Active (direct):
  33. 34. Sentences in active voice are also more concise than those in passive voice because fewer words are required to express action in active voice than in passive. For example… Another reason journalists should use active voice:
  34. 35. Passive (indirect): Active (direct):
  35. 36. Passive (indirect): Active (direct):
  36. 37. Changing passive to active <ul><li>If you want to change a passive-voice sentence to active voice, find the agent in a &quot;by the...&quot; phrase, or consider carefully who or what is performing the action expressed in the verb. Make that agent the subject of the sentence, and change the verb accordingly. Sometimes you will need to infer the agent from the surrounding sentences which provide context. Some examples follow… </li></ul>
  37. 38. Passive (indirect): Active (direct): Agent: most of the class
  38. 39. Passive (indirect): Active (direct): Agent: agent not specified; most likely agents such as &quot;the researchers&quot;
  39. 40. Passive (indirect): Active (direct): Agent: the CIA director and his close advisors
  40. 41. Passive (indirect): Active (direct): Agent: agent not specified; most likely agents such as &quot;we&quot;
  41. 42. Some exceptions <ul><li>Active voice is usually, but not always, the way to go. In each of these following examples, the passive voice is useful for highlighting the action and what is acted upon instead of the agent. </li></ul>
  42. 43. Passive (indirect): Active (direct): Agent: The presiding officer
  43. 44. Passive (indirect): Active (direct): Agent: The leaders
  44. 45. Passive (indirect): Active (direct): Agent: The scientists
  45. 46. Some Suggestions 1. Avoid starting a sentence in active voice and then shifting to passive. For example: He tried to act cool when he slipped in the puddle, but the other students still laughed at him . He tried to act cool when he slipped in the puddle, but he was still laughed at by the other students . Many customers in the restaurant found the coffee too bitter to drink, but they still ordered it frequently. Many customers in the restaurant found the coffee too bitter to drink, but it was still ordered frequently. Revised Unnecessary shift in voice
  46. 47. <ul><li>Some Suggestions </li></ul><ul><li>2. Avoid dangling modifiers caused by the use of passive voice. A dangling modifier is a word or phrase that modifies a word not clearly stated in the sentence. We’ll discuss this in more detail later. </li></ul>Seeking to lay off workers without taking the blame, the CEO hired consultants to break the bad news. Seeking to lay off workers without taking the blame, consultants were hired to break the bad news. Who was seeking to lay off workers? The consultants?) To save time, Kristin wrote the paper on a computer. To save time, the paper was written on a computer. (Who was saving time? The paper?) Revised Dangling modifier with passive voice
  47. 48. Now on to Part 2… <ul><li>Common grammatical mistakes in journalism </li></ul>
  48. 49. <ul><li>Most Commonly Occurring Errors </li></ul><ul><li>Would grammar be as daunting as we tell ourselves if we knew this: </li></ul><ul><li>One study revealed that 20 different mistakes constitute 91.5 percent of all errors in written work done by students. </li></ul><ul><li>So, if you can master these 20 errors, then you are nearly there. </li></ul>
  49. 50. <ul><li>Most of these errors you can spot. It requires you to proofread your articles and to </li></ul><ul><li>F CUS </li></ul>
  50. 51. 1.      Missing comma after introductory phrases. <ul><li>For example: After the devastation of the siege of Leningrad the Soviets were left with the task of rebuilding their population as well as their city. </li></ul><ul><li>A comma should be placed after &quot;Leningrad.&quot; </li></ul>
  51. 52. 2.      Vague pronoun reference <ul><li>For example: The boy and his father knew that he was in trouble. </li></ul><ul><li>Who is in trouble? The boy? His Father? Some other person? </li></ul>
  52. 53. 3. Missing comma in compound sentence. <ul><li>For example: Wordsworth spent a good deal of time in the Lake District with his sister Dorothy and the two of them were rarely apart. </li></ul><ul><li>Comma should be placed before the &quot;and.&quot; </li></ul>
  53. 54. 4.   Wrong word. <ul><li>Beware of homonyms. These are common words that sound alike, but mean different things. For example: </li></ul><ul><li>For example: After he laid the money on the table, you could see the affect on there demeanor. </li></ul>
  54. 55. 4. Wrong word. <ul><li>Accept, Except error: </li></ul><ul><li>Accept is a verb meaning to receive. Except is usually a preposition meaning excluding. I will accept all the packages except that one. Except is also a verb meaning to exclude. Please except that item from the list. </li></ul>
  55. 56. 4. Wrong word. <ul><li>Affect, Effect: </li></ul><ul><li>Affect is usually a verb meaning to influence.  Effect is usually a noun meaning result. The drug did not affect the disease, and it had several adverse side effects . Effect can also be a verb meaning to bring about. Only the president can effect such a dramatic change. </li></ul>
  56. 57. 4. Wrong word. <ul><li>Allusion, Illusion: </li></ul><ul><li>An Allusion is an indirect reference. An illusion is a misconception or false impression. Did you catch my allusion to Shakespeare? Mirrors give the room an illusion of depth. </li></ul>
  57. 58. 4. Wrong word. <ul><li>Capital, Capitol: </li></ul><ul><li>Capital refers to a city, capitol to a building where lawmakers meet. Capital also refers to wealth or resources. The capitol has undergone extensive renovations. The residents of the state capital protested the development plans. </li></ul>
  58. 59. 4. Wrong word. <ul><li>Principle, Principal: </li></ul><ul><li>Principal is a noun meaning the head of a school or an organization or a sum of money. Principle is a noun meaning a basic truth or law. The principal taught us many important life principles . </li></ul>
  59. 60. 4. Wrong word. <ul><li>Lie, Lay: </li></ul><ul><li>Lie is an intransitive verb meaning to recline or rest on a surface. Its principal parts are lie, lay, lain. Lay is a transitive verb meaning to put or place. Its principal parts are lay, laid. </li></ul>
  60. 61. 4. Wrong word. <ul><li>To, Too, Two: </li></ul><ul><li>To is a preposition; too is an adverb; two is a number.  </li></ul><ul><li>For example: </li></ul><ul><li>Too many of your shots slice to the left, but the last two were right on the mark. </li></ul>
  61. 62. 4. Wrong word. <ul><li>its, it’s error </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Its&quot; is a possessive pronoun. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;It's&quot; is a contraction for &quot;it is.&quot;   </li></ul>
  62. 63. 4. Wrong word. <ul><li>There, Their, They’re error </li></ul><ul><li>There is an adverb specifying place; it is also an expletive. Adverb: Sylvia is lying there unconscious. Expletive: There are two plums left. </li></ul><ul><li>Their is a possessive pronoun. They're is a contraction of they are. For example: Fred and Jane finally washed their car. They're later than usual today. </li></ul>
  63. 64. 4. Wrong word <ul><li>Than, Then error </li></ul><ul><li>T han is a conjunction used in comparisons; then is an adverb denoting time. That pizza is more than I can eat. Tom laughed, and then we recognized him. </li></ul><ul><li>Hints : </li></ul><ul><li>1) Than is used to compare; both words have the letter a in them. </li></ul><ul><li>2) Then tells when; both are spelled the same, except for the first letter </li></ul>
  64. 65. 4. Wrong word. <ul><li>Your/You’re error </li></ul><ul><li>Your is a possessive pronoun; you're is a contraction of you are. For example: </li></ul><ul><li>You're going to catch a cold if you don't wear your coat. </li></ul><ul><li>Hint: Sound out you are in the sentence. If it works in the sentence it can be written as you're. If it sounds awkward, it is probably supposed to be Your. </li></ul>
  65. 66. 5. No comma in nonrestrictive relative clauses. <ul><li>Here you need to distinguish between a restrictive (essential) clause and a nonrestrictive (non-essential) clause. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the sentence, &quot;My brother in the red shirt likes ice cream.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>If you have TWO brothers, then the information about the shirt is restrictive (essential), in that it is necessary to defining WHICH brother likes ice cream. </li></ul>
  66. 67. 5. No comma in nonrestrictive relative clauses. <ul><li>Restrictive clauses, because they are essential to identifying the noun, use no commas. </li></ul><ul><li>However, if you have ONE brother, then the information about the shirt is not necessary to identifying your brother. </li></ul><ul><li>It is non-restrictive (non-essential) and, therefore, requires commas: &quot;My brother, in the red shirt, likes ice cream.&quot; </li></ul>
  67. 68. 6.   Wrong/missing inflected ends. <ul><li>&quot;Inflected ends&quot; refers to a category of grammatical errors that you might know individually by other names - subject-verb agreement, who/whom confusion, and so on. </li></ul><ul><li>The term &quot;inflected endings&quot; refers to something you already understand: adding a letter or syllable to the end of a word changes its grammatical function in the sentence. </li></ul>
  68. 69. 6.   Wrong/missing inflected ends. <ul><li>For example, adding &quot;ed&quot; to a verb shifts that verb from present to past tense. Adding an &quot;s&quot; to a noun makes that noun plural. A common mistake involving wrong or missing inflected ends is in the usage of who/whom. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Who&quot; is a pronoun with a subjective case; &quot;whom&quot; is a pronoun with an objective case. We say &quot; Who is the speaker of the day?&quot; because &quot;who&quot; in this case refers to the subject of the sentence. </li></ul><ul><li>But we say, &quot;To whom am I speaking?&quot; because, here, the pronoun is an object of the preposition &quot;to.&quot; </li></ul>
  69. 70. 7. Wrong/missing preposition <ul><li>Occasionally prepositions will throw you. Consider, for example which is better: &quot;different from,&quot; or &quot;different than?” </li></ul><ul><li>Though both are used widely, &quot;different from&quot; is considered grammatically correct. </li></ul>
  70. 71. 7. Wrong/missing preposition <ul><li>The same debate surrounds the words &quot;toward&quot; and &quot;towards.&quot; Though both are used, &quot;toward&quot; is preferred in writing. </li></ul>
  71. 72. 7. Wrong/missing preposition <ul><li>Another example: He was arrested for robbing the bank and killing the teller. </li></ul><ul><li>When in doubt, check a handbook – in this case the AP Stylebook . </li></ul>
  72. 73. 8.   Comma splice <ul><li>A comma splice occurs when two independent clauses are joined only with a comma. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: &quot;Picasso was profoundly affected by the war in Spain, it led to the painting of great masterpieces like Guernica.&quot; </li></ul>
  73. 74. 8.   Comma splice <ul><li>A comma splice also occurs when a comma is used to divide a subject from its verb. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: &quot;The young Picasso felt stifled in art school in Spain, and wanted to leave.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>(The subject &quot;Picasso&quot; is separated from one of its verbs </li></ul>
  74. 75. 9. Possessive apostrophe error <ul><li>Sometimes apostrophes are incorrectly left out; other times, they are incorrectly put in (her's, their's, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>For example, can you spot the error here: </li></ul><ul><li>Its about time you showed up for class. </li></ul>
  75. 76. 10. Tense shift <ul><li>Be careful to stay in a consistent tense. </li></ul><ul><li>Too often writers move from past to present tense without good reason. The reader will find this annoying. For example… </li></ul>
  76. 77. 10. Tense shift <ul><li>While Jones was taking a bath, the thief had entered through the bedroom window. </li></ul><ul><li>While Jones was taking a bath, the thief was entering through the bedroom window. </li></ul>
  77. 78. 11. Unnecessary shift in person <ul><li>Don't shift from &quot;I&quot; to &quot;we&quot; or from &quot;one&quot; to &quot;you&quot; unless you have a rationale for doing so. </li></ul><ul><li>For example… </li></ul>
  78. 79. 11. Unnecessary shift in person <ul><li>WRONG: In doing chemistry experiments, one should read the directions carefully. Otherwise you may have an explosion. </li></ul><ul><li>RIGHT: In doing chemistry experiments, one should read the directions carefully. Otherwise one may have an explosion. </li></ul>
  79. 80. 12. Sentence Fragments <ul><li>Silly things, to be avoided. Unless, like here, you are using them to achieve a certain effect. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember: sentences traditionally have both subjects and verbs. Don't violate this convention carelessly. </li></ul>
  80. 81. 13. Wrong tense or verb form <ul><li>Though many people generally understand how to build tenses, sometimes they use the wrong tense, saying, for example, &quot;In the evenings, I like to lay on the couch and watch TV&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Lay&quot; in this instance is the past tense of the verb, &quot;to lie.” </li></ul><ul><li>The sentence should read: &quot;In the evenings, I like to lie on the couch and watch TV.&quot; </li></ul>
  81. 82. 14. Subject-verb agreement <ul><li>This gets tricky when you are using collective nouns or pronouns and you think of them as plural nouns. For example: </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;The committee wants [not want] a resolution to the problem.&quot; </li></ul>
  82. 83. 14. Subject-verb agreement <ul><li>Mistakes like this also occur when your verb is far from your subject. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, &quot;The media, who has all the power in this nation and abuses it consistently, uses its influence for ill more often than good.&quot; </li></ul>
  83. 84. 15. Missing comma in a series <ul><li>Whenever you list things, use a comma. </li></ul><ul><li>You'll find a difference of opinion as to whether the next-to-last noun (the noun before the &quot;and&quot;) requires a comma. (&quot;Apples, oranges, pears, and bananas...&quot;) AP Stylebook says no! </li></ul>
  84. 85. 15. Missing comma in a series <ul><li>WRONG: For breakfast this morning, I had toast, milk, fruit and bacon and eggs. </li></ul><ul><li>RIGHT: For breakfast this morning, I had toast, milk, fruit, bacon and eggs. </li></ul>
  85. 86. 16. Pronoun agreement error <ul><li>Many people have a problem with pronoun agreement. </li></ul><ul><li>They will write a sentence like &quot;Everyone is entitled to their opinion.” </li></ul><ul><li>The problem is, &quot;everyone&quot; is a singular pronoun. You will have to use &quot;his&quot; or &quot;her.&quot; </li></ul>
  86. 87. 17. Unnecessary commas with restrictive clauses <ul><li>See the explanation for number 5. </li></ul>
  87. 88. 18. Run-on, fused sentence <ul><li>Run-on sentences are sentences that run on forever, they are sentences that ought to have been two or even three sentences but the writer didn't stop to sort them out, leaving the reader feeling exhausted by the sentence's end which is too long in coming. (Get the picture?) </li></ul>
  88. 89. 18. Run-on, fused sentence <ul><li>For example: </li></ul><ul><li>Joe was a lead guitarist for a band it was an emo band as you know emo describes a subgenre of hardcore punk that originated in the Washington, D.C. </li></ul>
  89. 90. 18. Run-on, fused sentence <ul><li>Handy rule: If your sentence is over 20 words long, consider rewriting it more succinctly or breaking it up into two sentences. </li></ul>
  90. 91. 18. Run-on, fused sentence <ul><li>Fused sentences occur when two independent clauses are put together without a comma, semi-colon, or conjunction. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: &quot;Researchers investigated several possible vaccines for the virus then they settled on one&quot; </li></ul>
  91. 92. 19. Dangling, misplaced modifier <ul><li>Modifiers are any adjectives, adverbs, phrases, or clauses that a writer uses to elaborate on something. </li></ul><ul><li>Modifiers, when used wisely, enhance your writing. </li></ul><ul><li>But if they are not well-considered - or if they are put in the wrong places in your sentences - the results can be less than eloquent. </li></ul>
  92. 93. 19. Dangling, misplaced modifier <ul><li>Consider, for example, this sentence: </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;The professor wrote a paper on sexual harassment in his office.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Is the sexual harassment going on in the professor's office? Or is his office the place where the professor is writing? </li></ul>
  93. 94. 19. Dangling, misplaced modifier <ul><li>One hopes that the latter is true. If it is, then the original sentence contains a misplaced modifier and should be re-written accordingly: </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;In his office, the professor wrote a paper on sexual harassment.” </li></ul><ul><li>Always put your modifiers next to the nouns they modify. </li></ul>
  94. 95. 19. Dangling, misplaced modifier <ul><li>Dangling modifiers are a different kind of problem. </li></ul><ul><li>They intend to modify something that isn't in the sentence. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider this: &quot;As a young girl, my father baked bread and gardened.&quot; </li></ul>
  95. 96. 19. Dangling, misplaced modifier <ul><li>The writer means to say, &quot;When I was a young girl, my father baked bread and gardened.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>The modifying phrase &quot;as a young girl&quot; refers to some noun not in the sentence. </li></ul><ul><li>It is, therefore, a dangling modifier. </li></ul>
  96. 97. 19. Dangling, misplaced modifier <ul><li>Other dangling modifiers are more difficult to spot, however. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider this sentence: &quot;Walking through the woods, my heart ached.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Is it your heart that is walking through the woods? </li></ul><ul><li>It is more accurate (and more grammatical) to say, &quot;Walking through the woods, I felt an ache in my heart.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Here you avoid the dangling modifier. </li></ul>
  97. 98. 19. Dangling, misplaced modifier <ul><li>Can you spot the errors below? </li></ul><ul><li>Having been thrown in the air, the dog caught the stick. </li></ul><ul><li>Smashed flat by a passing truck, Big Dog sniffed at what was left of a half-eaten hamburger. </li></ul><ul><li>Although nearly finished, we left the play early because we were worried about our sick cat. </li></ul><ul><li>Walking to college on a subzero morning, my left ear became frozen. </li></ul>
  98. 99. 19.1 Squinting Modifiers <ul><li>A squinting modifier , also called a two-way modifier , is an ambiguously placed modifier that can modify either the word before it or the word after it. </li></ul><ul><li>In other words, it is &quot;squinting&quot; in both directions at the same time: </li></ul><ul><li>[WRONG] Defining your terms clearly strengthens your argument. (does defining &quot;clearly strengthen&quot; or does &quot;defining clearly&quot; strengthen?) </li></ul><ul><li>[RIGHT] Defining your terms will clearly strengthen your argument. OR A clear definition of your terms strengthens your argument. </li></ul>
  99. 100. 19.1 Squinting Modifiers <ul><li>Can you spot the errors below? </li></ul><ul><li>Students who miss classes frequently fail the course. </li></ul><ul><li>The victims who swallowed the antidote rapidly recovered. </li></ul><ul><li>He said tonight he'd call me. </li></ul><ul><li>Kevin's mom asked him when he finished his homework to take out the trash. </li></ul>
  100. 101. 20. Who, Which, That <ul><li>Do not use which to refer to persons. Use who instead. That, though generally used to refer to things, may be used to refer to a group or class of people. </li></ul><ul><li>For example: </li></ul><ul><li>I just saw a boy who was wearing a yellow banana costume. I have to go to math next, which is my hardest class. Where is the book that I was reading? </li></ul>
  101. 102. The end. <ul><li>Remember, this was just a crash course in grammar. If you want to master grammar, you must work at it on a regular basis. There is no way to acquire grammatical skills without practice. Practice, practice, practice! </li></ul>
  102. 103. Sources <ul><li>Online Writing Lab at Purdue University and Purdue University </li></ul><ul><li>Dartmouth Writing Program </li></ul><ul><li>Ronald Rodgers, journalism professor at University of Florida </li></ul><ul><li>Steve Buttry, editor of the Cedar Rapids Gazette </li></ul><ul><li>The Emory University Writing Center </li></ul><ul><li>Erlyn Baack, director of </li></ul><ul><li>Bob Baker, author of Newsthinking and former Los Angeles Times editor </li></ul><ul><li>A Writer’s Reference by Diana Hacker </li></ul><ul><li>Random House Unabridged Dictionary </li></ul><ul><li>John E. Mcintyre, copy desk chief, The Baltimore Sun </li></ul>