PUNCTUATION Important for meaning, but also for interest/variety Learning how to create complex sentences adds interest to essays BASICS OF A SENTENCE Clausea group of words that contain both a subject and a verb Independent Clause (IC)can be a sentence on its own I sat down. Dependent Clause (DC)is a fragment on its own
While I sat down, I read my book. Phrasea group of words that does not contain a subject or does not contain a verb Sitting down, I read my book. PERIOD What it does: ends a sentence Exclamation point shows that the sentence has a lot of emotionnot often used in academic writing A question mark shows that the sentence is a question
Example: This is a sentence. I love writing! How can I write a question? COMMA What it does: Examples: Joins an IC to one or more DCs
Because I got sick, I missed class. Joins two ICs, with a coordinating conjunction (fanboysfor, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) I was sick, so I missed class. Separates items on a list Separates Adjectives I bought tissues, soup, and water bottles.
I ate hot, delicious soup. Used around an appositive phrasea My friend, Erin, gave me the notes from class phrase that renames Used around a parenthetical phraseaI, unable to leave my bed, missed class. phrase that adds clarity, but is not crucial to the meaning of the sentence SEMI-COLON What it does: Joins two ICs. Used when you have two sentences that are closely related so you want
to connect them Example: I am hungry; I will have pizza for dinner. Incorrect: I am hungry, I will have pizza for dinner. Incorrect: I am sick, I missed class. COLON What it does: Comes after a word introducing a:
Quotation Explanation Example Series Example: I need to go to the store to buy: bread, milk, and eggs.
DASH What it does: Indicates a break in thought Introduces a phrase for added emphasis, definition, or explanation Used around an appositive phrase that already includes commas Example: Stromberg also discusses how bad love is not necessarily intentionalit can sometimes arise from self-deception, misunderstanding, or misplaced
expectation (98). The cousinsTina, Todd, and Sam arrived at the party together. HYPHEN What it does: Joins two words to make one Examples: He is forty-five years old. The painting was life-size. I am left-handed.
QUOTATION MARK What it does: Marks text that is not the authors words Used around titles of short poems, song titles, magazines or newspaper articles, essays, speeches, chapter titles Example: He asked, "When will you be arriving?" I answered, "Sometime after 6:30."
SINGLE QUOTATION MARK What it does: Used for quotes within quotes Example: According to the example on Purdue Owl, He asked, When will you be arriving? I answered, Sometime after 6:30 (Brief Overview of Punctuation).
PARENTHESIS What it does: Marks information that is related, but not essential Example: My family visited several countries (Italy, France, and Spain) on our vacation last year. BRACKETS What it does:
Writers words inside a quote Example: There was no good arguing with Frances [Leahs mother]. If she made up her mind, her spear was staked, like a warrior in the old days fastening himself in place in a battle (Marriott 235). He only ha[s his] stories (Alexie 73). ELLIPSIS What it does:
Shows an omission of words Used within quotes to show that you are jumping from one phrase to another, omitting words that interfere with your meaning Example: Their talents as writers allow them to transformthe genres they appropriate (Rosen). SOME PUNCTUATION ERRORS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Fragments Fused Sentences Comma Splices FRAGMENTS Try adding Did you know that to the beginning of your sentence if you think it might be a fragmentif it does not make sense, then it is probably a fragment Example: Walking to the store. Corrected: We walked to the store. Walking to the store, we sang. FRAGMENTS
Chunks of words that begin with the following words CANNOT stand alone and MUST be connected to an IC After If Until Although Once When AsWhile Whenever Because Since Where Even Though That Whether Though Unless Whereas Fragment: After I went to class. Corrected: After I went to class, I took a nap.
FUSED SENTENCES A fused sentence occurs when no punctuation at all separates two chunks of words that could stand alone as sentences. Correct fused sentences by: Adding a period Adding a semicolon Adding a comma followed by one of the FANBOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So) Making one of the stand alone chunks be unable to stand alone FUSED SENTENCES Incorrect: Students must edit their papers they can find errors
more easily by reading their papers backwards. Corrected: Students must edit their papers. They can find errors more easily by reading their papers backwards. Students must edit their papers; they can find errors more easily by reading their papers backwards. Students must edit their papers, and they can find errors more easily by reading their papers backwards. Students must edit their papers and can find errors more easily by reading their papers backwards. COMMA SPLICE A comma splice occurs when you try to join two
independent clauses with only a comma. Correct comma splices with one of the same four fixes: Adding a period Adding a semicolon Adding a comma followed by on of the FANBOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So) Making one of the stand alone chunks be unable to stand alone COMMA SPLICE Incorrect: Students cant expect to find mistakes all at once, they should search for one type of mistake at a time. Corrected: Students cant expect to find mistakes all
search for one type of mistake at a time. Students cant expect to find mistakes all search for one type of mistake at a time. Students cant expect to find mistakes all search for one type of mistake at a time. Students cant expect to find mistakes all search for one type of mistake at a time. at once. They should at once; they should at once, so they need to at once and should
AVOIDING REDUNDANCY Example of Redundancy: John and I went to the store because we needed charcoal for the barbeque. John and I are having a barbeque because it is the first week of summer. At the barbeque, we are going to make hamburgers. After the barbeque, we are going to have a water balloon fight. How to Fix It: John and I went to the store because we needed charcoal for the barbeque. Since it is the first week of summer, we thought taking out the grill was good idea. The plan is to serve hamburgers and then, after everyone is done eating, have a water balloon fight.
AVOIDING REDUNDANCY Use commas Switch how sentences begin Add details without repeating the same ideas AVOIDING REDUNDANCY Example of redundancy adding length: The grass was soaking wet after the storm and the fact that it was wet make it really hard to walk the dog without him getting water all over the floor after we brought him inside. How to Fix It: The dog got water all over the floor after his walk because
it had just rained. Be concise and use only necessary details AVOIDING REDUNDANCY This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. Its like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all
the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals sounds that say listen to this, it is important. Gary Provost
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