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Comma Lens

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by

Eric Carroll

on 7 January 2013

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Transcript of Comma Lens

Homework: Create two examples for each phrase. Six examples in total.

Goal: To examine how phrases can be used to improve our writing. The Participle Phrase: The participle lens captures and evokes action with precise accuracy.

-It starts with a verb (generally ending with “ing) and can include modifiers that add further clarity and resolution to the image. “The diamond-scaled snakes attacked their prey” Now with the Participle Lens (phrase):

"Hissing, slithering, and coiling, the diamond-scaled snakes attacked their prey.” (without modifiers)

"Hissing their forked red tongues and coiling their cold bodies, the diamond-scaled snakes attacked their prey." (with modifiers) Ernest Hemingway, for example, uses participial phrases to create tension and action in this excerpt from Old Man and the Sea:

Shifting the weight of the line to his left shoulder and kneeling carefully, he washed his hand in the ocean and held it there, submerged, for more than a minute, watching the blood trail away and the steady movement of the water against his hand as the boat moved. (56-57) The Absolute Phrase: The absolute lens specializes in zooming in on a particular image with great clarity and specificity.

The absolute lens is often a two-word statement beginning with a noun and ending with a verb (“ing” or “ed.) "The mountain climber edged along the cliff.” Now with the absolute lens (phrase):

"The mountain climber edged along the cliff, hands shaking, feet trembling."

"Hands shaking, feet trembling, the mountain climber edged along the cliff."

"Feet trembling on the snow covered rocks, the mountain climber edged along the cliff." (Absolute phrase with prepositional modifier) Notice how Anne Rice in this passage from The Mummy uses absolutes to zoom in for a close-up photo, capturing the specific images of the mummy s arm:

The mummy was moving. The mummy's right arm was outstretched, the torn wrappings hanging from it, as the being stepped out of its gilded box! The scream froze in her throat. The thing was coming towards her-towards Henry, who stood with his back to it-moving with a weak, shuffling gait, that arm outstretched before it, the dust rising from the rotting linen that covered it, a great smell of dust and decay filling the room. (72) The appositive lens acts as a noun that adds a second image to a preceding noun. Like the absolute lens, the appositive expands details in the reader's imagination. The Appositive Phrase: The volcano, a ravenous God of fire, spewed forth lava and ash across the mountain. (Ben Quagliata)

The old Navajo woman, a weak and withered lady, stared blankly. (Jon Vadnal)

The waterfall, a tilted pitcher, poured the fresh, pure spray into the creek. (Allie Archer)

The fish, a slimy mass of flesh, felt the alligator's giant teeth sink into his scales as he struggled to get away. Appositive Examples Observe how Cornelius Ryan uses appositives in June 6,1944: The Longest Day. :

Plowing through the choppy gray waters, a phalanx of ships bore down on Hitler's Europe: fast new attack transports, slow rust-scarred freighters, small ocean liners, channel steamers, hospital ships, weather-beaten tankers, and swarms of fussing tugs. Barrage balloons flew above the ships. Squadrons of fighter planes weaved below the clouds. And surrounding this cavalcade of ships packed with men, guns, tanks, and motor vehicles, and supplies came a formidable array of 702 warships. (243) You Try! "Michael Jordan shot the ball" "The rock climber held on to the gripping." "The Joker sat on the prison bench." Do NOW: Define sentence structure (simple, compound, complex, compound-complex)

1. Squiggly went to the store to buy a chair, so Aardvark wandered into the dressing room for fun.

2. While Squiggly thought he was celebrity, Aardvark knew Squiggly was most likely not, so he decided to tell him.

3. Aardvark left the room whenever Squiggly turned on polka music.

4. Drew was a good lacrosse player but stunk at basketball.

5. Nathan was happy that he remembered to do his art homework.
Sentence Structure: Phrases Right or Wrong ?

Consider this, Is the following a grammatical sentence ?

The amazingly beautiful old city zoo in the western side of the capital city of Berlin.

WRONG!

Definition of Phrase:
A phrase is a group of words that does not contain both a subject and a predicate and therefore cannot stand alone as a clause or sentence.
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