Complex Sentences and Commas

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The hows and whys to correctly punctuate complex sentences.

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Complex Sentences and Commas

  1. 1. 1. Simple Sentence 2. Compound Sentence 3. Complex Sentence
  2. 2. I will order the tacos if you get the burrito. If you get the burrito, I will order the tacos.
  3. 3. I will order the tacos if you get the burrito. If you get the burrito, I will order the tacos. Only the word order has changed, but notice how the second sentence starts with “if” and has a comma.
  4. 4. 3 parts: I didn’t go to the club because I was sick. Independent Clause (Simple Sentence) Dependent Clause Subordinating Conjunction
  5. 5. 3 parts: Independent Clause (Simple Sentence) Dependent Clause Subordinating Conjunction Because I was sick I didn’t go to the club., Rule: If the subordinating conjunction comes first, add a comma.
  6. 6. after although as as if as long as as though because before even if even though  if if only in order that now that once rather than since so that than that  though till unless until when whenever where whereas wherever while
  7. 7. The comma shows where the dependent clause finishes and the independent clause begins. Consider this: Because you already ate John and Carol went home.
  8. 8. That sentence reads awkwardly. It probably read like this at first: Because you already ate John and Carol went home. We need the comma to make sure “you didn’t eat John”. Correction: Because you already ate, John and Carol went home.
  9. 9. Next is a paragraph from a paper that a student wrote. Try to find all the comma mistakes. (The subject matter is pretty interesting.)
  10. 10. Whenever people cook meth there are many potential problems. Because the process of making meth is so toxic many meth houses are now condemned and uninhabitable. Also, when people cook meth there is a high risk of explosion. This has lead to new laws. Currently, if chemical companies sell the ingredients for methamphetamine without proof of professional use they are subject to lawsuits and fines. ,
  11. 11. Did you catch all the mistakes? There are 5 of them.
  12. 12. Whenever people cook meth there are many potential problems. Because the process of making meth is so toxic many meth houses are now condemned and uninhabitable. Also, when people cook meth there is a high risk of explosion. This has lead to new laws. Currently, if chemical companies sell the ingredients for methamphetamine without proof of professional use they are subject to lawsuits and fines. ,
  13. 13. Next is the corrected version.
  14. 14. Whenever people cook meth there are many potential problems. Because the process of making meth is so toxic many meth houses are now condemned and uninhabitable. Also, when people cook meth there is a high risk of explosion. This has lead to new laws. Currently, if chemical companies sell the ingredients for methamphetamine without proof of professional use they are subject to lawsuits and fines. , , , , ,
  15. 15. When the dependent clause comes before the independent clause, add a comma. Example:

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