Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Cheat Sheet - Fragments, Splices, and Run-Ons, Oh My.

Today I am covering three different items from my "Cheat Sheet" that I use: Sentence fragments, run-on sentences, and comma splices. 

In high school, as well as college, my instructors informed the class that one would get an automatic 'F' on any report, term paper, or other papers if any of these three items appeared in the work.

Today, I will cover their definitions (at least the ones I use) and give an example of each sentence type.  In future posts, I intend to expand on them a bit.

Sentence fragment: Is a sentence that is not complete independent clause.  In a sense, it is a phrase. 

Examples:
1. Not a good idea.
2. Covering three different items.
3. If any of these three appear.
Run-On Sentences: This is where one places two or more independent clauses together with out proper connection.  One way is to make one long sentence using a connector (and, or, but, yet) but not using the proper punctuation with it.  Another way is to have them spliced together with a comma without the connector (The comma denotes a spot where one is to take a breath if reading aloud.).

Example:
1. Martin's agent made all the arrangements for the jig from New York yet he felt discouraged when treated as if he walked in off the streets of Berlin for this audition.
2. Joseph did not care for the humidity that accompanied the southern heat but he preferred the heat over the cold weather of the north.
In both cases, there should be a comma behind the word that appears before the connector (York, yet; heat, but)

Comma Splices: This is where one connects two or more independent clauses with just a comma. 

Examples:

1. She did not believe she was capable of writing the story when she sat down, the words flowed onto the screen as her fingers dashed across the keyboard.
2. Bertha belted out the three songs that she knew from heart, everyone in the vicinity covered their ears to filter the woman's screeching voice.
 In this case, a connector is needed after the comma (, {yet, but}; , {and, but, yet)

There is more to come later.  I hope to have some simple exercises ready for this Friday.

When I "free write," I will find some of these problems, but more often, I find more commas that there should be when I check my work. 

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