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Grammar & Style: Fragments, Run-ons & Comma Splices
Transcript of Grammar & Style: Fragments, Run-ons & Comma Splices
These happen when a dependent clause is treated as its own sentence
And how to fix them
“The rule is: don’t use commas like a stupid person. I mean it.”
Run On Sentences & Comma Splices
Identifying Run-On Sentences
Dependent Clause Fragments
Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
Fixing Fused sentences
What is a dependent clause?
Basic Grammar Guide
What is a fragment?
Sentence Problems: Fragments
Tests to find fragments
A fragment is an
Test 1: Find the verb.
Run-ons & Fragments
Grammar is the logic of speech, even as logic is the grammar of reason.
Richard Chenevix Trench
What is a fragment?
Parts of a Sentence
A sentence is a complete thought.
A sentence must contain:
A subject (
-- person, place or thing)
A predicate (what is being said about the subject)
To be exact, a
predicate must contain a verb!
for a long time.
When you write a fragment, you indicate to your readers that cannot control a sentence--the most basic building block of writing.
When I travel.
This is a fragment, because it is an incomplete thought.
When you travel you do what?
There are 3 common types of fragment:
1. Missing the Subject
For example: Ran to the store
Who? They ran to the store
2. Missing the Verb/Predicate
For example: Joe and Jan...
What? : Joe and Jan went to the store
3. Dependent clause fragments!
A dependent clause is a clause with a subordinating conjunction (although, if, before, when, etc.)
Before we went to the store.
Think of a dependent clause as a clause that is
on something to come before or after it.
Test 2: Find the subject.
Test 3: Find the complete thought.
Verbs express action that link the information to the subject.
Sometimes you'll find verbals, which are unable to change form (cannot add "s" or " ed").
The happy students
in the cafeteria.
This sentence has no real verb, so they
fail test 1,
and are therefore
If you found an action verb in the sentence, the subject is whoever or whatever is doing the action.
If the verb is a linking verb
(am, is, are, was, or were)
, the subject is whoever or whatever comes before the verb.
The coffee maker was annoyed. And the next morning hissed more than usual.
The second sentence is a fragment because the subject is missing.
Every sentence must have a complete thought.
A subordinate clause, for example, has both a subject and a verb, but does not include a complete thought.
Beginning a sentence with a
because, if, or since
who, which, or that
when, where, or why
all need a second clause to constitute a complete thought.
When Katie caught sight of her ex-boyfriend.
What happened when she saw him? We don't know, so it's a fragment.
Run-on Sentences contain two or more independent clauses that have been improperly connected.
What is an independent clause?
A group of words that can stand as its own sentence.
For example: I went to Paris.
There are 2 types of run-on sentences:
Fused Sentence :
This is when 2 independent clauses (or sentences) are connected with nothing at all.
I went to Paris I got sick from the food
You fix fused sentences by adding either a period or a semicolon.
I went to Paris I got sick from the food.
I went to Paris. I got sick from the food.
I went to Paris; I got sick from the food.
Use the semicolon when the two ideas being discussed are closely connected. Use the period when the individual thoughts can be separated into their own sentences.
Example of good semicolon use:
Instead of devoting a lot of time to my essay, I wrote it all the night before it was due; the essay received a low grade.
And how to fix them
Fixing Commas Splices
Comma-splices are sentences that have two or more main clauses joined with a comma, but without a coordinating conjunction.
What is a coordinating conjunction?
Coordinating Conjunctions are your FANBOYS:
For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So.
You need them to hold two main clauses together.
Sentences with Coordinating Conjunctions:
Katie loves her dog Astro
she doesn't really like cats.
Comma splices can be corrected by using a period, semicolon, coordinating conjunction, subordinating conjunction, or conjunctive adverb.
I went to Paris, AND I got sick from the food.
When do people make this mistake?
Writers sometimes get confused when writing similar ideas, and they don't know if they are suppose to be in one sentence or not. To remedy this situation they usually use a comma to separate the ideas, but forget the coordinating conjunction.
Comma splices also happen when you insert them anywhere you think a pause my go. Commas are not for where you would take a breath--make sure your punctuation makes sense!
Proper comma use