The Comma Splice
- If only a comma
appears between two independent clauses without a
coordinating conjunction, the error is called a comma splice.
Salmon swim upstream, they leap over huge dams to reach their destination.
Salmon swim upstream, and then they leap over huge dams to reach
- A comma splice
also occurs when a comma and a transitional expression join two independent
Some parents support bilingual education, however, many oppose it
Some parents support bilingual education; however, many oppose it
2. The Abused Apostrophe
indicate ownership or possession (Fred's books, the government's plan).
- They can also signal
omitted letters (who's, can't).
comes over every Sunday.
comes over every Sunday.
My friends come over every Sunday.
Coordinated & Subordinated Conjunctions
- Conjunctions indicate
the relationship between words or groups of words.
- The two classes
of conjunctions are coordinate and subordinate.
Coordinate conjunctions - indicate units of equal status (yet, and,
but, or, for, so, nor).
Do you want
cake or ice cream?
I graduated a semester early, but I had to go to work immediately.
Subordinate conjunctions - indicate that one unit is more important
than the other (after, although, as, because, before, if, since, that,
unless, until, when, where, while).
After the value of the NASDAQ dropped by over two thirds,
some of the new
Dot-com millionaires found out the party was over.
- Avoid using two
negatives in one sentence, or you will end up saying the opposite of
what you mean.
Barely no one noticed that the pop star lip-synched during
Barely anyone noticed that the pop star lip-synched during
Disruptive & Misplaced Modifiers
Be wary of modifiers
that sometimes seem to modify two things, or the wrong thing.
Modifiers include words such as almost, hardly, even, just,
merely, not, only, and simply.
modifiers should always go before the word or words they modify
in a work
Notice in this example
that "just" is used in four places, and in each place it carries a different
twenty new people just volunteered just for the sea
turtle rescue program
just for the spring.
- The antecedent
is the noun that a pronoun refers to. The pronoun and antecedent must
be in agreement.
- When pronouns and
the nouns they replace are separated by several words, sometimes the
agreement in number is lost.
The band members collected his and her uniforms.
Revised: The band members collected
words used before nouns and pronouns to form phrases
that convey relationships such as of time and space (in the poem,
throughout the day, behind her, without a doubt, for you). Prepositional
phrases are often idiomatic: on occasion, in love.
- Prepositions can
pile information onto previous nouns:
The design of
the apparatus with the tubing and the electrical wiring was
useful for diagnosis of the transmission of electrical impulses
in the nerve
She saw him coming. And looked away.
Revised: She saw him coming
and looked away.
Add the missing
When aiming for the highest returns, and also thinking about the
Revised: When aiming for the
highest returns, investors also should think
about the possible losses.
- Run-ons jam together
two or more sentences, failing to separate them with appropriate punctuation.
- The writer must
be careful to determine where one main clause stops and the next begins.
I do not recall what kind of printer it was all I remember is that
sort, staple, and print a packet at the same time.
Revised: I do not recall what
kind of printer it was. All I remember is that it could
Sort, staple, and print a packet at the same time.
Holly Blackford -
Darling, Capital Community College
Faigley & Lester, The Brief Penguin Handbook
Diane Matlock - Contributor
Raimes, Keys for Writers
Williams, Style: Toward Clarity & Grace
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