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TRNG AI HOC A LAT

GIAO TRNH

WRITING I
(Danh cho sinh vien tai chc Anh van)

NGUYEN TAT THANG

2002

Writing 1

-2CONTENT

PART I: SENTENCE SENSE ......................................................................................4


I. Recognizing phrases ...............................................................................................4
II. Recognizing clauses ..............................................................................................4
III. Recognizing sentences .........................................................................................5
IV. Patterns that add variety to writing......................................................................6
EXERCISES ..............................................................................................................7
PART II: PUNCTUATION ........................................................................................17
I. End punctuation....................................................................................................17
II. Internal punctuation.............................................................................................17
III. Items in a series..................................................................................................20
EXERCISES ............................................................................................................21
PART III: COMMA SPLICE .....................................................................................24
EXERCISES ............................................................................................................26
PART IV: RUN-ON OR FUSED SENTENCES........................................................29
EXERCISES ............................................................................................................30
PART V: SENTENCE FRAGMENT.........................................................................35
EXERCISES ............................................................................................................37
PART VI: DANGLING..............................................................................................46
PART VII: FAULTY AGREEMENT ........................................................................57
I. Make every verb agree in number with its subject...............................................57
II. Use a Singular Pronoun in Referring to a Singular Antecedent. Use a Plural
Pronoun in Referring to a Plural Antecedent...........................................................61
III. Make Sure That a Demonstrative Adjective (this, that, these, those) Agrees In
Number with the Noun It Modifies..........................................................................64
PART VIII: FAULTY REFERENCE OF PRONOUNS ............................................66
I. Avoid Sentences in Which There Are Two Possible Antecedents for a Pronoun66
II. Avoid References to an Antecedent Which Is Remote from the Pronoun, or so
Placed as to Confuse the Reader..............................................................................67
III. Avoid the Vague Use of this, that, or which to REFER to the general idea of a
preceding clause or sentence....................................................................................69
IV. Do Not Use a Pronoun to Refer to a Noun That Is Not Expressed but Is Merely
Implied by the Preceding Construction....................................................................70
V. Avoid the Indefinite Use of they, you, and it ......................................................71
PART IX: SHIFTS IN POINT OF VIEW - MIXED CONSTRUCTIONS................73
I. Do not Shift the Subject of a Sentence or the Voice of the Verb .........................73
II. Do Not Shift Person or Number..........................................................................74
III. Do not shift Tense or mood ...............................................................................75
IV. Do Not Use Mixed Constructions......................................................................76
PART X: MISPLACED PARTS ...............................................................................78
I. Be Sure That Adverbs Such as almost, even, hardly, just, merely, only, nearly,
scarcely Refer Clearly and Logically to the Words They Modify...........................78
II. Be Sure That Modifying Phrases Refer Clearly to the Words They Modify......79
III. Be Sure That Modifying Clauses Refer Clearly to the Words They Modify ....80
IV. Avoid "Squinting" Modifiers.............................................................................81

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V. Do Not Split Infinitives Awkwardly...................................................................82

Reference:
Hacker, D. (1995). A Writers Reference Exercises to Accompany. 3rd Edition.
Bedford Books of St. Martins Press New York. ISBN 0-312-10142-2
Jordan, R. R. (1997). Academic Writing Course. CollinsELT HarperCollins.
Leggette, G, Mead, C. D., Charvat, W. (1988). Essentials of Grammar and
Composition. Prentice-Hall, New Delhi 110001.
Langan, J. (1995). Sentence Skills- A work book for writers. McGraw Hill
Langan, J. (1996). College Writing Skills 4th edition. McGraw-Hill
Reid, J. M. (1998). The Process of Paragraph Writing. Prentice Hall Regents New
Jersey 07632

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PART I:
SENTENCE SENSE
I. Recognizing phrases
A phrase is a group of related words without a subject or predicate and used as
a single part of speech. Typical phrases are a preposition and its object {I felt on the
sidewalk), or a verbal and its object (I wanted to see the parade).
Prepositional phrases are classified, according to function, as adjective, adverb,
and noun phrases.
An adjective phrase modifies a noun or pronoun. (He is a man of action.}
An adverb phrase modifies a verb, adjective, or adverb. (The train arrived on
time. We were ready at the station.)
A noun phrase is used as a noun. (Before breakfast is the best time for
calisthenics.)
Verbal phrases are classified as participial, gerund, or infinitive phrases.
A participial phrase functions as an adjective, modifying a noun or pronoun.
(The man sitting on the porch is my father. The dog found in the street was
homeless.) Such phrases are formed with the present participle of a verb (seeing,
calling) or the past participle (seen. called).
A gerund phrase is used as a noun. {Collecting stamps is my hobby.} Since both
gerunds and present participles end in -ing, they can be distinguished only by their
separate functions as nouns or adjectives.
An infinitive phrase is used as an adjective, adverb, or noun. (It is time to go to
bed. We were impatient to start the game. I wanted to buy a house.)

II. Recognizing clauses


A clause is a group of words containing a subject and a predicate. The relation
of a clause to the rest of the sentence is shown by the position of the clause or by a
conjunction. There are two kinds of clauses (1) subordinate or dependent clauses,
and (2) main or independent clauses.
1.

Subordinate clauses are frequently introduced by a subordinating conjunction


(as, since, because, etc) or by a relative pronoun (who, which, that). A
subordinate clause functions as an adjective, adverb, or noun and expresses
an idea that is less important than the idea expressed main clause. The exact
relationship between the two ideas is indicated by the subordinating
conjunction or relative pronoun that joins the subordinate and the main clause.

A Main clause also has both subject and verb but is not introduced by a
subordinating word. A main clause makes an independent statement. It is not used
as a noun or a modifier.

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III. Recognizing sentences


A sentence is a grammatically independent and complete unit of
communication. It may contain words that we cannot fully understand unless we
read preceding or succeeding sentence, but it is grammatically self-sufficient even
when lifted out of context and made to stand alone.
Old Dinger's ghost was said to live in the surrounding hills.
It had been seen several times from the tavern window.
Sentences in English are traditionally described as simple, compound, complex,
and compound-complex.
A simple sentence has a single subject-verb combination
Children play
The game ended early
My car stalled1 three times last week
A simple sentence may have more than one subject
Lora and Tony drove home
The wind and water dried my hair
or several subjects and verbs
Manny, More, and Jack lubricated my car, replaced the oil filter, and
cleaned the spark plugs
A compound , or double, sentence is made up of two simple sentences.
The two complete statements in a compound sentence are usually connected by a
comma plus a joining word (and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet).
The rain increased, so the officials cancelled the game
Martha wanted to go shopping, but Fred refused to drive her
I had to give up woodcarving, for my arthritis had become very painful.
A complex sentence is made up of a simple sentence (a complete
statement) and a statement that begins with a dependent word:

DEPENDENT WORD
After
Although, though
As
Because
Before
Even though
How
1

if, even if
in order that
since
that, so that
unless
until
what, whatever

when
where, wherever
whether
which, whichever
while
who
whose

Chet may

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A complex sentence is used when you want to emphasize one idea over the
other
Because I forgot the time, I missed the final exam.
The idea that the writer wishes to emphasize here I missed the final exam is
expressed as a complete thought. The less important idea because I forgot the
time- is subordinated to the complete thought. The technique of giving one idea less
emphasis than another is called subordination.
The compound-complex sentence is made up of two (or more) simple
sentences and one or more dependent statements.
When the power line snapped2, Jack was listening to the radio, and Linda was
reading in bed.
After I returned to school following a long illness, the math teacher gave me
make-up work, but the history teacher made me drop her course.
COORDINATION AND SUBORDINATION
Coordination and subordination are ways of showing the exact relationship of
ideas within a sentence. Through coordination we show that ideas are of equal
importance. When we coordinate, we use the words and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet.
Through subordination we show that one idea is less important than another. When
we subordinate, we use dependent words like when, although, since, as, whole,
because, and after.

IV. Patterns that add variety to writing


-ING GROUPS
Use an ing word group at some point in a sentence
The doctor, hoping for the best, examines the x-ray
Jogging everyday, I soon raised my energy level
-ED WORD GROUPS
Use an ed word group at some point in a sentence
Tired of studying, I took a short break
Mary, amused by the joke, told it to a friend
I opened my eyes wide, shocked by the red F on my paper
APPOSITIVES
An appositive is a word group that renames a noun (any person, place, or thing)
2

B t, gay

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Rita, a good friend of mine, works as a police officer.


Alan Thorn, a former member of the team, got lost on the hiking trip.
-LY OPENERS
Use an ly word to open a sentence.
Gently, he mixed the chemicals together
Anxiously, the contestant looked at the game clock
Skillfully, the quarterback3 rifled a pass to his receiver
TO OPENERS
Use a TO word group to open a sentence.
To succeed in that course, you must attend every class
To help me sleep better, I learned to quiet my mind through meditation.
To get good seats, we went to the game early.
PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE OPENERS
Use prepositional phrase to open a sentence.
From the beginning, Ii disliked my boss.
In spite of her work, she failed the course.
After the game, we went to a movie

EXERCISES
I. Underline the prepositional, participial, gerund, and infinitive phrases in
each sentences and then state whether they function as noun, adjective, or
adverb phrases.
1. Many children with talent performed at the concert for the Red Cross.
2. Paul drove around the block, looking for a parking lot.
3. Delayed by the storm, the ship came into port a day late.
4. With growing interest we listen to the story.
5. Joining clubs is a way of meeting new people.
6. To be successful doesnt necessarily mean to be wealthy.
7. Alex, looking very unhappy, was leaning against the fence, watching the game.
8. Our neighbors across the road are moving to a house around the corner.
9. Our first job, painting the fence, took all morning.
10. The birds, made bold by hunger, came to the doorstep for food.
3

Tien ve

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II. Underline the Subordinate clauses (or clause) in each of the following
sentences and then write their names and functions.
1. Have you ever asked your doctor what a disease is?
2. I forgot to tell you the time when I shall return.
3. That you are in good health again pleases all of us.
4. He tried for a long time before he succeeded.
5. The only people who never fail are those who never try.
6. If Jane comes, should we show her the photographs you brought?
7. We were still eighty miles from where we were going.
8. Attracted by the high waves, many people moved to the big cities where they
found jobs in factories.
9. My uncle laughed at me when I ran from a cow that only wanted to be friendly.
10. When I got to the station, I learnt that the train that I expected to get had left ten
minutes before.
11. Miss Sullivan is annoyed if we come in after the bell, which is hung above the
front door, has rung twice.
12. The day after I arrived I met a friend whom I had not seen since he moved to
the South.
III. Determine the kind of each of the following sentences. Underline each
clause of the sentence, and then write its name.
1. Fishing isnt any fun for me unless I catch a fish.
2. He did not talk or laugh; he just merely smiled.
3. Ask no questions and you will be told no lies.
4. Dad, busy with his monthly report, hardly heard a word we said.
5. At a dangerous speed the thieves drove the stolen car through the thick traffic.
6. The violinist bowed and smiled while the audience applauded wildly, but he
played no encores.
7. I was happy when I heard that he had been appointed chairman of the
committee.

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8. The student checked his paper carefully; still, he was sure that he had made a
mistake.
9. If anyone telephones me while I was out, tell him that I have gone to Kiev for
the day.
10. I do not know how you regard this action, but I do know what I think of it.
Further reading
PARALLEL STRUCTURE
Parallel structure means using the same pattern of words to show that two or more
ideas have the same level of importance. This can happen at the word, phrase, or
clause level. The usual way to join parallel structures is with the use of coordinating
conjunctions such as "and" or "or.
1. Words and Phrases
With the -ing form (gerund) of words:
Parallel: Mary likes hiking, swimming, and bicycling.
With infinitive phrases:
Parallel: Mary likes to hike, to swim, and to ride a bicycle.
OR
Mary likes to hike, swim, and ride a bicycle.
(Note: You can use "to" before all the verbs in a sentence or only before the
first one.)
Do not mix forms.
Example 1
Not Parallel: Mary likes hiking, swimming, and to ride a bicycle.
Parallel: Mary likes hiking, swimming, and riding a bicycle.
Example 2
Not Parallel: The production manager was asked to write his report quickly,
accurately, and in a detailed manner.
Parallel: The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately,
and thoroughly.
Example 3
Not Parallel: The teacher said that he was a poor student because he waited until
the last minute to study for the exam, completed his lab problems in a careless
manner, and his motivation was low.

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Parallel: The teacher said that he was a poor student because he waited until the
last minute to study for the exam, completed his lab problems in a careless manner,
and lacked motivation.
2. Clauses
A parallel structure that begins with clauses must keep on with clauses. Changing to
another pattern or changing the voice of the verb (from active to passive or vice
versa) will break the parallelism.
Example 1
Not Parallel: The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, that
they should not eat too much, and to do some warm-up exercises before the game.
Parallel: The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, that they
should not eat too much, and that they should do some warm-up exercises before
the game.
-- or -Parallel: The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, not eat too
much, and do some warm-up exercises before the game.
Example 2
Not Parallel: The salesman expected that he would present his product at the
meeting, that there would be time for him to show his slide presentation, and that
questions would be asked by prospective buyers.
(passive)
Parallel: The salesman expected that he would present his product at the meeting,
that there would be time for him to show his slide presentation, and that prospective
buyers would ask him questions.
3. Lists after a colon
Be sure to keep all the elements in a list in the same form.
Example 1
Not Parallel: The dictionary can be used for these purposes: to find word
meanings, pronunciations, correct spellings, and looking up irregular verbs.
Parallel: The dictionary can be used for these purposes: to find word meanings,
pronunciations, correct spellings, and irregular verbs.
Proofreading Strategies to try when you write:
Skim your paper, pausing at the words "and" and "or." Check on each side of these
words to see whether the items joined are parallel. If not, make them parallel.
If you have several items in a list, put them in a column to see if they are parallel.
Listen to the sound of the items in a list or the items being compared. Do you hear
the same kinds of sounds? For example, is there a series of "-ing" words beginning

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each item? Or do your hear a rhythm being repeated? If something is breaking that
rhythm or repetition of sound, check to see if it needs to be made parallel.
Rewrite the following sentences:
1. The day is dark, with cloudy skies and has a high humidity.
2. As a teenager, she had babysat, working in a restaurant, and typing for her
mother.
3. I am studying the sources of educational theory and how educational theory has
evolved.
4. I read Hegel for the profound ideas in his philosophy but not his style of writing.
5. In his hands he was holding a book and interesting magazine.
6. He was not only sympathetic but also knew when to be considerate.
7. Not only did he enjoy the movie but also the play.
8. He was successful both as a church architect and writing poetry.
9. I was concerned about the price of the car and if it was comfortable.
10. Their homeland was cold and with many mountains.
11. Playing tennis is more strenuous that to ride a bicycle.
12. Neither does he speak Spanish nor Helen.
13. She wanted the roof repaired and to pain the fence.
14. John decided to go to the university rather than a job.
15. He is a poor teacher but who treats his students fairly.
SUMMARY
1- Basic elements of the sentence: Subject, Objects, Complements
e. g : He is reading a book
Maria is going to buy her son a new watch.
The test was so difficult.
2- Phrases and Clauses:
Phrases: Groups of words containing non-finite verbs ( -ING / -ED forms of
verbs, To-infinitive )
e. g : Looking at the board, she knew that she was on the wrong way.
This is a long novel written by a very famous writer.

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Clauses: groups of words containing finite verbs


e. g : The cat jumped onto my fathers lap while he was reading his letters.
Looking at the board, she knew that she was on the wrong way.
Practice : Identify phrases and clauses in the following sentences :
1-The woman driving the car indicated that she was going left and then
turned right.
2- I shant go unless he asks me.
3- When it rains, I usually go to the office by bus.
4- Henry did the work as it ought to be done.
5-Mary has gone to get some fruit.
6-I received my wages yesterday, so that I can now pay what I owe you.
7-Walking through the park, we saw a lovely show of daffodils.
8-The concert given by the Philharmonic Orchestra was a great success.
3-Subordinate clauses : Functions : Nouns, Adjectives, Adverbs.
e. g : What he likes is what I hate. (Noun)
Can you tell me what the time is? (Object)
The place where Macbeth met the witches was a desolate heath.
(Adjective clause)
As my secretary is away at present, I have a great many extra letters
to answer. (Adverb clause)
When we came in, they were having dinner. (Adverb clause)
I know that he is the leader. (Object)

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Practice :Identify the subordinating clauses and its functions in the following
sentences :
1-The book which you lent me was interesting.
2-How the prisoners escaped is a complete mystery.
3-George said that he was pleased to welcome our Italian friends.
4-I shall do the exercises as I have been taught.
5-The news that we are having a holiday tomorrow is not true.
6-He asked me why I had come there.
7-As the car was so small he sold it.
8-He kept on with his work until he had finished it.
9-Stay where you are!
10-The idea that you can do this work without thinking is quite wrong.
4-Complex, Compound, Compound-Complex :
main clause + subordinate clause (s )
main clause + main clause

-> complex
-> compound

main clause + main clause + subordinate clause


complex

-> compound-

e. g : I am teaching you English and you are listening to me.


The man said that he was tired.
Do you understand that or is the point still not clear ?
The boy who was attacked by the thieves closed the door and then he
walked away.
The thief ran away when he saw the policeman.
They could not decide what to do so they asked for my advice.
Practice test 1
I Identify phrases, clauses in the following sentences:
1-Suddenly the tornado hit the town, ripping roofs away from houses, wrenching
trees from the ground.
2-Anyone who likes rock music wants to hear it all day long.
3-Even though I enjoy pastoral beauty, bugs scare me and flowers make me sneeze.
4-We tried out our new speedboat when the sea was calm.
5-An educated person is one who knows not only the extent of his knowledge but
also its limits.

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6-It is difficult to estimate the impact of televised violence upon young children.
7-Many parents are under the impression that education is to be got only in school.
8-Before election, it is every politicians opinion that taxes must be cut.
9-The police were annoyed by the jeers of the crowd.
10-She became interested in social work through her summer job in a camp for
underprivileged children.
II Underline the subordinating clause and denote its function:
1 -While I did well in class, I was a poor performer at games
2- A great storm had brought the sea right into the house, so that they had been
forced to make their escape by a window at the back.
3- Where the pink cliffs rose out of the ground there were often narrow tracks
winding upwards.
4- George said he was pleased to welcome our Italian friends.
5- You can have this for what I paid for it.
6-The news that we are having a holiday tomorrow is not true .
7-The news that he told me was terrible.
8- That it was done deliberately is quite clear.
9-I know the reason why he was so angry.
10-He is the kindest man I know.
III Identify compound, complex, compound-complex sentences:
1-Teachers frown on the idea of cramming the night before an exam, but its better
than flunking.
2-One of the major objections to capital punishment is not that it is ineffective as a
deterrent to crime but that it is so inconsistently administered.
3-The argument for the legalization of marijuana rests on the contention that the
drug is not addictive.
4-The teacher told the class he was retiring that year, and there was a burst of
applause.
5- Although Elvis Presleys heyday seemed to be over, his popularity underwent a
revival.
6-This summer I took a temporary job as a shop assistant in the dress department of
a large store, and it was an experience I shall never forget.
7-The first customers of the morning were the ladies who had come up to town in
order to spend the whole day at the shops.

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Practice Test 2
I Indicate phrases, clauses and their functions:
1. As the class ended, the teacher heaved a deep sigh of relief.
2. Students are demanding a large role in school decision-making because, they
claim, they are the school.
3. Thinking is an activity that requires practice.
4. It is sometimes difficult to draw the line between literature and pornography
; even legal definitions reflect that difficulty.
5. The Titanic, once considered unsinkable, sank in a matter of hours.
6. What one thinks at twenty seems naive at thirty.
7. The police were annoyed by the jeers of the crowd.
8. The students felt that the administration had been evasive.
9. We tried out our speed boat when the sea was calm.
10. She had the quality of innocence that the director had been looking for.
II Identify compound, complex, compound-complex sentence:
1. The new politicians are those who substitute organization for charisma.
2. What would you do if you found yourself in a bathing suit in a snowstorm?
3. An addict needs more and more heroin, and needs it all time.
4. He tries to be a sophisticated man of the world, but he does not succeed.
5. The day she developed laryngitis was the happiest day of her husband life.
6. Thinking is an activity that requires practice.
7. When the sky darkened, the wind blew and the leaves fell.
8. Before election, it is every politicians opinion that taxes must be cut down.
9. Anyone who likes rock music wants to hear it all day long.
III Correct the mistakes appeared in the following sentences :

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1. After the government declared amnesty, hundreds of political prisoners come


rushing out of jail.
2. Even Republicans were moved when Lyndon Johnson bid the nation farewell.
3. He was prejudice against farm life since he had lived all his life in the city.
4. After the car collided, the injured were laying all over the highway.
5. World peace will be assured when the leaders of all nations set down and talk to
one another.
6. The accident was not near as bad as it would have been of he had not been
driving slow.
7. It is Shakespeare, I believe, who said that a rose by any other name would smell
as sweetly.
8. John is the taller of all three brothers.
9. International relations may improve significant if unfriendly nations establish
diplomatic relations.
10. Many policemen feel badly over newspaper accounts of police brutality

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PART II:
PUNCTUATION
I. End punctuation
Periods, question marks, and exclamation points signal the end of a sentence.
Use a period to terminate plain assertions or commands; use a question mark to
terminate interrogative statements; use an exclamation point to terminate strongly
emotional assertions or ejaculations. Ordinarily, the character of the sentence
dictates the proper end punctuation. Occasionally, however, you must determine for
yourself just what you intend the character of a sentence to be. Notice the different
intentions behind the three sentences:
He struck out with the bases loaded.
He struck out with the bases loaded?
He struck out with the bases loaded!

II. Internal punctuation


End punctuation indicates whether a writer wants you to read a whole sentence
as a question, an assertion, or an expression of emotion. Internal punctuation
indicates the relations and relative importance of elements within the sentence.
Five punctuation marks are used for this purpose: commas, semicolons, colons,
dashes, and parentheses. The most important uses of these marks are indispensable
to clarity, and like the uses of end punctuation are repeated over and over again.
But a skillful use of internal punctuation serves not only basic clarity; it can also
help writers communicate the precise shade of balance and emphasis they wish the
reader to get.
2.1. MAIN CLAUSES
Use a Comma to Separate Main Clauses Joined by a Coordinating
Conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, and so)
The patrol planes were delayed by a heavy rain, and they barely had enough
fuel to get back to the carrier.
The patrol planes were delayed by a heavy rain, but they succeeded in
making safe landings on the earner deck.
The patrol planes could land near the enemy lines, or they could risk night
landings on the carrier deck.
The return of the patrol planes must have been delayed, for they made night
landings on the carrier deck.
Exceptions:
1. In compound sentences, when one or both main clauses are very short you
may omit the comma.

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Ask no questions and you'll be told no lies.


The scene changes but the inspiration of men of good will persists.
2. You may use a semicolon to separate main clauses joined by a coordinating
conjunction, especially when you have already used commas within the clauses
themselves.
Babe Ruth, the greatest of home run hitters, was the most colorful figure in
baseball; but many people think Ty Cobb was a better player.
The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and
writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it
is with what he vowed to make it. (SIR JAMES BARRIE)
3. You may use a semicolon in place of a comma to separate long coordinated
clauses or to indicate a stronger pause between clauses.
We haven't all had the good fortune to be ladies; we haven't all been
generals, or poets, or statesmen; but when the toast works down to the
babies, we stand on common ground. (MARK TWAIN)
Use a Semicolon to Separate Main Clauses Not Joined by a Coordinating
Conjunction
Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them;
sometimes they forgive them. (OSCAR WIDE)
To educate a man is to educate an individual; to educate a woman is to
educate a family.
Exception: You may use a comma to separate very short main clauses not
joined by coordinating conjunctions.
I stopped, I aimed, I fired.
Use a Semicolon to Separate Main Clauses Joined by a Conjunctive
Adverb
Americans spend million of dollars for road-building; however, our roads are
rapidly deteriorating.
Note that when the conjunctive adverb comes within the second main clause
instead of at the beginning, the clauses still must be separated by a semicolon, and
the conjunctive adverb set off by commas.
Americans spend millions of dollars for road building; our roads, however,
are rapidly deteriorating.
CONJUNCTIVE ADVERBS are different from SUBORDINATING
CONJUNCTIONS. A conjunctive adverb is primarily a transitional word carrying
the thought from one MAIN CLAUSE to the next. Subordinating conjunctions
introduce SUBORDINATE CLAUSES.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 19 -

This list, though incomplete, will aid you in distinguishing between the two:
Conjunctive Adverbs
however
nevertheless
moreover
there fore
consequently
hence
indeed
likewise
furthermore
namely
still
then

Subordinating Conjunctions
when
although
though
since
if
because
so that
after
in order that
while
unless

2.2. SUBORDINATE PHRASES AND CLAUSES


Use a comma to separate introductory clause and phrases from a main
clause
When I saw the grizzly bear coming toward me, I raises the gun to my shoulder
and took aim
As soon as he finished his dessert, he left
After his long exile to France during the Commonwealth, Charles II returned
to England in 1660.
The comma is frequently omitted after very short introductory clauses or
phrases. Note, however, that even when the introductory clause or phrase is very
short, a comma will be necessary if its omission can cause misreading.
Clear
When he arrived she was taking the cat out of the piano.
Clear
After his defeat he retired from public life.
Confusing When he returned home was not what it used to be.
Confusing After dark fireflies came in large numbers.
Use a Comma to Set off a Beginning Participial Phrase Modifying the
Subject or an Absolute Phrase before the Subject
Having been an arbitrator between labor and management for a decade, he
felt confident in tackling one more labor dispute.
Exhausted, the swimmer fell back into the pool.
To be quite honest about it, that dog has been known to climb trees.
Note: Do not confuse verbal modifiers with verbals used as subjects.
Having been an arbitrator between labor and management for a decade
made him feel confident in tackling one more labor dispute.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 20 -

III. Items in a series


Use Commas to Separate Three or More Words, Phrases, or Clauses That
Form a Coordinate Series
He talked fluently, wittily, and penetratingly4.
He is honest, he is courageous, and he is experienced.
Informal practice permits the omission of the comma before the and, unless it
is required for clarity.
Ill have roast beef, potatoes and salad.
A comma before the last item in a series, however, is sometimes necessary to
prevent an illogical grouping.
Our resort is equipped with comfortable cabins, a large lake with boating
facilities, and a nine-hole golf course.
I am interested in a modern, furnished apartment with two bedrooms,
kitchenette5, living room, bathroom with shower, and garage.
If we omit the comma after facilities in the first sentence, the sentence seems
to suggest that the resort has a lake with a golf course in it. If we omit it after the
shower in the second sentence, the writer seems to be expressing a wish for an
apartment with a garage in the bathroom.
Use Commas to Separate Coordinate Adjectives In a Series; Do Not Use
Commas to Separate Adjectives That Are Not Coordinate
Adjectives in a series are coordinate if each adjective modifies the noun
separately. They are not coordinate if each adjective in the series modifies the total
concept that follows it.
Coordinate
You are a greedy, thoughtless, insensitive prig6.
Not coordinate The boys are planning an exciting holiday canoe trip.

Sac sao, sau sac


Bep nho
6
Ke cap, ke hm mnh
5

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 21 -

EXERCISES
I. Quotation Marks: We usually put punctuation inside the quotation marks
Example:
Say something to me, whispered Lola to Tony.
Mark Twain once wrote, The more I know about human being, the
more o like my dog.
The only dumb question, the instructor said, is the one you dont
ask.
YOU DO IT
Place quotation marks around the exact words of a speaker or writer in the
sentences that follow.
1. The health-food store clerk said, Sucking on zinc lozenges can help you get
over a cold.
2. How are you doing in school? my uncle always asks me.
3. Dave said, Lets walk faster. I think the game has already started.
4. Mark Twain once said, The man who doesnt read good books has no
advantage over the man who cant.
5. Its extremely dangerous to mix alcohol and pill, Dr. Wilson reminded us.
The combination could kill you.
II. Comma: It often signals a minor break, or pause, in a sentence. It is used:
1. To separate item in a series
2. To set off introductory material
3. Before and after words the interrupt the flow of thought in a
sentence
4. Before two complete thoughts connected by and, but, for, nor,
or, yet, so
5. To set off a direct quotation from the rest of a sentence
6. For certain everyday material
YOU DO IT
Put a comma where necessary
1. Superman believe in truth justice and you.
2. Mary added white wine mushroom salt pepper and oregano to her spaghetti
sauce
3. When the president entered the room became hushed.
4. Feeling brave and silly at the same time Tony volunteered to go on stage
and help the magician

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 22 -

5. At first putting extra hot pepper flakes on the pizza seemed like a good idea.
However I felt otherwise when flames seemed about to shoot out of my
mouth.
6. On Friday my day off I went to get a haircut.
7. Mowing the grass especially when it is six inches high is my last favorite
job.
8. A jar of chicken noodle which was all there was in the refrigerator did not
make a very satisfying meal.
9. The oranges in the refrigerator were covered with blue mold and the
potatoes in the cupboard felt like sponges.
10. The whole family searched the yard inch by inch but never found Moms
missing wedding ring.
11. All the slacks in the shop were on sale but not a single pair was my size.
12. Tom came to the door and called out Welcome to my house!
13. The student behind me whispered The skin
14. I expect you to set a better example for the other Mike.
15. Although that old man on the corner looks like a Skid Row bum he is said to
have a Swiss bank account.
III. Colon: Use the colon at the end of a complete statement to introduce a list, a
long quotation, or an explanation.
List: The following were my worst jobs: truck loader in an apple plant, assembler in
a battery factory, and attendant in a state mental hospital.
Long quotation: Thoreau explains in Walden: I went to the woods because I
wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could
not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not
lived.
Explanation: There are two softball leagues: the fast-pith league and the low-pitch
league.
YOU DO IT - Place colons where needed
1. Foods that are high in cholesterol include the following eggs, butter, milk,
cheese, shrimp, and well-marbled meats
2. All the signs of the flu were present hot and cold spells, heavy drainage
from the tissues, a bad cough, and an ache through the entire body.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 23 -

IV. Semicolon: It is used to mark the break between two complete thoughts
YOU DO IT: Place semicolons where needed:
1. The special at the restaurant today are eggplant Parmesan, for $5.95 black
beans and rice, for $4.95 and chicken potpie, for $6.95.
The top of the hill offered an awesome view of the military cemetery thousands
of headstones were ranged in perfect rows.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 24 -

PART III:
COMMA SPLICE

The use of a comma between two main clauses without a coordinating conjunction
results in the COMMA FAULT or COMMA SPLICE. (A comma splice results when
a comma is mistakenly placed between two independent clauses that are not joined
by a coordinating conjunction. (If the comma is omitted, the error is called a run-on
sentence.)
Comma splice
Environments are not static7 states, they are constantly changing and evolving.
Corrected
Environments are not static states; they are constantly changing and evolving.
Environments, constantly changing and evolving, are not static states.
Comma splice
The witness was unwilling to testify, he was afraid of the accused man
Corrected
The witness was unwilling to testify. He was afraid of the accused man
The witness was unwilling to testify; he was afraid of the accused man
The witness was unwilling to testify, for he was afraid of the accused man
Because he was afraid of the accused man, the witness was unwilling to
testify
Do not confuse comma splices with run-on sentences. A run-on sentence is not
spliced incorrectly, but it is strung together loosely and goes on too long to be
easily read.
How to find comma splices

Check all the commas in your sentences and read what comes before each one.
Is it a complete sentence? Read what comes after the comma. Is it a complete
sentence? If neither is a complete sentence, you have written a fragment. If both
are complete sentences, you have written a comma splice.
How to correct a comma splice once you've found it
There are several ways to do it. Choose the one that sounds best in a particular
instance.
1. Replace the comma with a semicolon. (Do not use a semicolon to separate
an independent clause from a dependent one.)
Incorrect: Many people write comma splices, it is not at all unusual to
encounter them in themes.

Tnh, khong chuyen ong

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1
Correct:

- 25 Many people write comma splices; it is not at all unusual to


encounter them in themes.

2. If the two parts of the sentence are fairly long or if one is of ordinary length
and the other is long, write the sentence as two sentences.
Incorrect: Today's college students seem very serious about their courses
and because of their seriousness, many people say they must be
indifferent to politics, but I disagree.
Correct: Today's college students seem very serious about their courses.
Because of their seriousness, many people say they must be
indifferent to politics, but I disagree.
3. Insert a coordinating conjunction after the comma. Use a comma and a
coordinating conjunction [FAN BOYS = for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.]. "Then"
is not a conjunction.
Incorrect: I studied hard for that test, I got it back with an E on it.
Correct: I studied hard for that test, but I got it back with an E on it.
Incorrect: I went to the store, then I went home.
Correct: I went to the store; then I went home.
4. Make one of the clauses dependent (subordinate), and use a subordinating
conjunction such as after, although, because, before, if, since, though, unless,
until, when, where, while.
Incorrect: The witness was unwilling to testify, he was afraid of the accused man
Correct: Because he was afraid of the accused man, the witness was unwilling to
testify
5. Reduce one of the independent clauses to a phrase or even a single word.
Incorrect: Environments are not static states, they are constantly changing
and evolving.
Correct: Environments, constantly changing and evolving, are not static states.

Do not allow a conjunctive adverb (words like accordingly, also, consequently,


furthermore, instead, likewise, moreover, nevertheless, otherwise, then, thus) or a
transitional phrase, (such as for example, in fact, on the other hand, that is) to
lead you into a comma splice. When such words and phrases connect main
clauses, they are always preceded by a semicolon.

Example

Everything seems quiet; then the explosion came.


John must be sick; otherwise, he would be here.
She disliked school; however, she studies everyday.
He wanted a job; in fact, he needed a job very badly.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 26 -

EXERCISES
Exercise 1
Directions: There is more than one way to repair a sentence with a comma
splice, and we have tried to indicate those possibilities, when appropriate, with
a variety of responses.
1. Kimberly sat on the bleachers8 and cheered for the team, Tom watched her as he
vigorously defended the goal.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. The cat jumped from step to step, it gracefully landed with each jump.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. The professor stated that he especially favors personally connected papers, these
papers reflect the most emotion.
4. Anthony did not agree with the method he was taught, he found other means to
solve the problem.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. I learned the song on the piano, I chose to never play it.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. Nicole chose what she thought were the best answers to the questions, her grade
did not reflect these choices.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. The correct format looked odd, Victoria chose not to complete the problem this
way.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. Michael sculpted the statue, he also painted the picture.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. The Revolutionary War was a triumph, it was also a struggle.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. Victoria managed the class, Julia coached the team.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------11. Entrepreneurship is the study of small businesses, college students are
embracing it enthusiastically.
8

Cho ngoi tren khac ai khong co mai che

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 27 -

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12. My father is chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, he also heads the
Warrant Commission.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------13. All over the country, people sell products over the Internet, these people are
making impressive profits.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------14. One person had been exporting farm equipment, in fact he exports over 30,000
pieces of machinery a year.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------15. After the sixth inning, I went home, my family stayed.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------16. Formal courses at the graduate level are now being taken by many elderly
citizens, some schools even offer them special programs.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------17. While time often erases bad memories, my ex-girlfriend never forgets anything,
she even remembers things that happened over five years ago.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 28 -

Exercises 2
1. Which of the following is INCORRECT?
A. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word
was God.
B. In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God. The Word was God.
C. In the beginning was the Word the word was with God the word was God.
D. In the beginning was the Word; the Word was with God, and the Word was
God.
E. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God: the Word was
God.
2. Which of the following is INCORRECT?
A. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has
been made.
B. Through Him all things were made. Without Him, nothing was made that has
been made.
C. Through Him all things were made: Without Him nothing was made that has
been made.
D. Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that
has been made.
E. Through Him all things were made without Him nothing was made, that has
been made.
3. Which of the following is INCORRECT?
A. In Him was life, the life was the light of people.
B. In Him was life. The life was the light of people.
C. In Him was life, the light of people.
D. Lighting the way, in Him was life.
E. The life in Him was the light of the people.
4. Which of the following is INCORRECT?
A. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
B. The light shines in the darkness. The darkness, however, has not understood
it.
C. Shining in the darkness, the light is not understood.
D. The darkness does not understand the light.
E. The light shines in the darkness has not understood it.
5. Which of the following is INCORRECT?
A. There came a man who was sent by God; his name was John.
B. There came a man who was sent by God. His name was John.
C. There came a man named John who was sent by God.
D. There came a man who was sent by God, his name was John.
E. A man named John was sent by God.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 29 -

PART IV:
RUN-ON OR FUSED SENTENCES
RUN-ON SENTENCES or fused sentences are terms describing two independent
clauses which are joined together with no connecting word or punctuation to
separate the clauses.
Incorrect
Correct

They weren't dangerous criminals they were detectives in disguise.


They weren't dangerous criminals; they were detectives in disguise.

Incorrect
Correct

I didn't know which job I wanted I was too confused to decide.


I didn't know which job I wanted, so I was too confused to decide.

In order to find run-on sentences, you need to be able to identify independent


clauses. An independent clause is a group of words with a subject and a predicate
that could make sense on its own as a sentence.
My cousin runs a mile to work every day
Checking for run-ons is easy, but it can take time. Read each sentence individually,
and count the number of independent clauses between each capital letter and
period. If you count more than one, you might have a run-on. You can also read
your work out loud and listen for sentences that contain more than one idea and no
place to take a breath.
Is the following sentence a run-on?
My cousin sprained9 his ankle last week he drove to work.
If you can find run-ons, it is easy to fix them.
It is important to realize that the length of a sentence really has nothing to do with
whether a sentence is a run-on or not; being a run-on is a structural flaw that can
plague even a very short sentence:
The sun is high, put on some sun-block.
An extremely long sentence, on the other hand, might be a "run-off-at-the-mouth"
sentence, but it can be otherwise sound, structurally.
When two independent clauses are connected by only a comma, they constitute
a run-on sentence that is called a comma-splice. The example just above (about
the sunscreen) is a comma-splice. When you use a comma to connect two
independent clauses, it must be accompanied by a little conjunction (and, but,
for, nor, yet, or, so).
The sun is high, so put on some sunscreen.
Run-on sentences happen typically under the following circumstances:
9

Bong gan

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 30 -

When an independent clause gives an order or directive based on what was said
in the prior independent clause
This next chapter has a lot of difficult information in it, you should start studying
right away.
(We could put a period where that comma is and start a new sentence. A semicolon
might also work there.)
When two independent clauses are connected by a transitional expression
(conjunctive adverb) such as however, moreover, nevertheless.
Mr. Nguyen has sent his four children to ivy-league colleges, however, he has
sacrificed his health working day and night in that dusty bakery.
(Again, where that first comma appears, we could have used either a period - and
started a new sentence - or a semicolon.)
When the second of two independent clauses contains a pronoun that connects it
to the first independent clause.
This computer doesn't make sense to me, it came without a manual.
(Although these two clauses are quite brief, and the ideas are closely related, this is
a run-on sentence. We need a period where that comma now stands.)
Most of those computers in the Learning Assistance Center are broken already, this
proves my point about American computer manufacturers.
Again, two nicely related clauses, incorrectly connected a run-on. Use a period
to cure this sentence.

EXERCISES
Exercises 1
1. Judy leads a charmed life she never seems to have a serious accident.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. The airport is about to shut down because of the snow and if the plane
doesn't land soon it will have to go on to Boston.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. The show begins at 7:30 make sure you're there before 7:15.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Marcellino always knew his way around the woods this is something
he could always depend on.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 31 -

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. Having prepared himself well for the real exams and having exhausted
everyone in the family with his requests that someone help him with the
true-and-false drills, Jeffrey, who had never been a particularly good student
in high school, knew he was ready to take on the greatest challenge of his
life.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. Throughout history money and religion were closely linked there was little
distinction between government and religion.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. The head of state and the religious leader were often the same person all
power rested in one ruler.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. These powerful leaders decided what objects would serve as money their
backing encouraged public faith in the money.
8. Coins were minted of precious metals the religious overtones of money
were then strengthened.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. People already believed the precious metals to be divine so their use in
money intensified its allure.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Exercises 2
After each sentence, select the option which best describes that sentence. The first
option will always be that the sentence is fine. Other options will not only define
the structural flaw but suggest a way of fixing it. Choose the option with the best
remedy.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 32 -

1. Although he had been an often decorated soldier during World War II and had
fought many battles for the losing cause of liberalism in Congress.
A. There is nothing wrong with the structure of this sentence
B. Run-on: put a comma after World War II.
C. Run-on: put a semicolon after World War II.
D. Fragment: put a comma after Congress and finish the sentence.
2. This is going to be the most difficult exam of your college career, you had better
start studying for it immediately.
D. There is nothing wrong with the structure of this sentence.
E. Fragment: put a comma after immediately and finish the sentence.
F. Run-on: replace that comma with a semicolon.
3. Knowing better than anyone else how the state legislature had ignored the needs
of the community college system and created a crisis characterized by an
uneducated workforce that had no place to go for proper training and realizing that
someone had to do something about the situation or the state would begin to lose
jobs to states in the American south that were more aggressive in providing and
publicizing excellence in education, Representative Fuentes began to lay plans for
an education bill that took into consideration the needs of the state's community
colleges and the students who attended them.
A. There is nothing wrong with the structure of this sentence.
B. This sentence is too long; it must be a run-on.
C. Even though this sentence is very long, it is actually a fragment.
4. Coach Espinoza really wants this job with Notre Dame University, she is very
excited about returning to the college she graduated from.
A. There is nothing wrong with the structure of this sentence.
B. Fragment: put a comma after from and finish the sentence.
C. Run-on: change that comma to a period and start a new sentence.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 33 -

5. Right after the Christmas holidays and during those three weeks before class
begins in January.
A. There is nothing wrong with the structure of this sentence.
B. Fragment: put a comma after January and finish the sentence.
C. Run-on: put a comma after holidays.
6. She ran.
A. There is nothing wrong with the structure of this sentence.
B. Fragment: the sentence is too short and needs more details to be a complete
thought.
7. Perplexed by the rising rates of inflation and alarmed by the decline in major
construction projects.
A. There is nothing wrong with the structure of this sentence.
B. Run-on: put a comma after inflation.
C. Fragment: put a comma after projects and finish the sentence.
8. Anabel realizes what she is doing, I think, but she doing it anyway.
A. There is nothing wrong with the structure of this sentence.
B. Fragment: we're missing part of a verb.
C. Run-on: change the comma after doing to a semicolon.
9. Professor Pepin spends a lot of time translating medieval texts on ancient
medicine, however, he also stays informed about the latest developments in modern
asthma10 treatments.
A. There is nothing wrong with the structure of this sentence.
B. Fragment: although this is a long sentence, it's missing part of a verb.
C. Run-on: remove the verb from the second independent clause.
D. Run-on: change the comma after medicine to a semicolon.
10. If we're ever going to get out of here in time, we're going to have to re-write all
these papers, set up the desks, and clean the chalkboards; stack those books in the
corner and clean up the mess around the wastebasket; notify security about the
broken window, the thermostat11 that Raoul messed up, and the desk that was stolen
before we even got here.
A. There is nothing wrong with the structure of this sentence.
B. Run-on: the sentence should be broken into three smaller sentences.

10
11

Benh hen suyen


Bo on nhiet

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 34 -

C. Fragment: although the sentence is very long, it's missing a verb string.
D. Run-on: change those two semicolons to commas.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

Definition

- 35 -

PART V:
SENTENCE FRAGMENT

A SENTENCE FRAGMENT fails to be a sentence in the sense that it cannot


stand by itself. It does not contain even one independent clause. There are several
reasons why a group of words may seem to act like a sentence but not have the
wherewithal to make it as a complete thought.
It may locate something in time and place with a prepositional
phrase or a series of such phrases, but it's still lacking a proper
subject-verb relationship within an independent clause:
In Japan, during the last war and just before the armistice12.
This sentence accomplishes a great deal in terms of placing the reader in
time and place, but there is no subject, no verb.
It describes something, but there is no subject-verb relationship
missing subject
WORKING FAR INTO THE NIGHT IN AN EFFORT TO SALVAGE13 HER LITTLE
BOAT
This is a verbal phrase that wants to modify something, the real subject
of the sentence (about to come up), probably the she who was working so
hard.
Fragment
He was just too eager. And called me about 18 times.
"And called me about 18 times" is a fragment since it has no subject.
Revised
He was just too eager. And he called me about 18 times.
The addition of the subject "he" turns the fragment into a sentence. (A sentence can
begin with a coordinating conjunction, but there still must be a subject.)
It may have most of the makings of a sentence but still be missing an
important part of a verb string missing verb

12
13

Ngay nh chien 11/11 (World War II)


Cu ho

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 36 -

Some of the students working in Professor Espinoza's laboratory last


semester.
Remember that an -ing verb form without an auxiliary form to
accompany it can never be a verb.
A sentence must contain a finite verb. A non-finite verb, or verbal, does not refer to
a definite or limited action or condition. Therefore, a verbal cannot be used as the
verb element in a sentence.
Fragment
Julia studied modernist theory as well. To supplement her paper on
postmodernism.
The second sentence does not contain a verb, and thus is a fragment (it is also
missing a subject!). "To supplement" is an infinitive, or verbal, not a verb.
Revised
Julia studied modernist theory as well to supplement her paper on
postmodernism.
or
Julia studied modernist theory as well. She did so to supplement her paper on
postmodernism14.
It may even have a subject-verb relationship, but it has been
subordinated to another idea by a dependent word and so cannot stand by
itself missing main clause
Even though he had the better arguments and was by far the more powerful
speaker.
This sentence fragment has a subject, he, and two verbs, had and was,
but it cannot stand by itself because of the dependent word (subordinating
conjunction) even though. We need an independent clause to follow up this
dependent clause: . . . the more powerful speaker, he lost the case because he
didn't understand the jury.
Fragment
I ate the whole pie. Because I felt like it.
This is a subordinate clause since it is introduced by the subordinating
conjunction "because." The clause is a fragment because it is not attached to an
independent or main clause.
Revised
Because I felt like it, I ate the whole pie.
14

Chong lai chu ngha hien ai (nghe thuat)

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1
or

- 37 -

I ate the whole pie because I felt like it.

The clause "because I felt like it" needs another clause to depend on in order to
form a complete sentence.

EXERCISES
Sentence Fragment Exercises # 1
Underline the dependent-word fragment (or fragments) in each selection.
Then correct each fragment by attaching it to the sentence that comes before or the
sentence that comes after - whichever sounds more natural. Put a comma after the
dependent-word group if it starts the sentence.
1. When the waitress coughed in his food. Frank lost his appetite. He didn't
even take home a doggy bag.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. My little brother had chicken pox this summer. He was very upset. Because
he didn't get to miss any school.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. Tony doesn't like going to the ballpark. If he misses an exciting play. There's
no instant replay.
4. After the mail carrier comes. I run to our mailbox. I love to get mail. Even if
it is only junk mail.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. Even though she can't read. My little daughter likes to go to the library. She
chooses books with pretty covers. While I look at the latest magazines.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Underline the -ing or to fragment in each selection. Then rewrite each
selection correctly.
1. Some workers dug up the street near our house. Causing frequent vibrations
inside. By evening, all the pictures on our walls were crooked.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 38 -

2. I had heard about the surprise party for me. I therefore walked slowly into
the darkened living room. Preparing to look shocked.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. Jen's stomach grumbled all morning. The reason being that she skipped
breakfast to get to the bus on time.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. As I was dreaming of a sunny day at the beach, the alarm clock rang.
Wanting to finish the dream. I pushed the snooze button.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. To get back my term paper. I went to see my English
instructor from last semester. I also wanted some career advice.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Sentence Fragment Exercises # 2
The sentences below appeared in papers written by students. Act as their editor,
marking a C if the sentences in the group are all complete and an F if any of the
sentences in the group is a fragment. Could you tell these writers why the fragments
are incomplete sentences?
____ 1. Then I attended Morris Junior High. A junior high that was a bad
experience.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

____ 2. The scene was filled with beauty. Such as the sun sending its brilliant rays
to the earth and the leaves of various shades of red, yellow, and brown moving
slowly in the wind.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

____ 3. He talked for fifty minutes without taking his eyes off his notes. Like other
teachers in that department, he did not encourage students' questions.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

____ 4. Within each group, a wide range of features to choose from. It was difficult
to distinguish between them.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

____ 5. A few of the less serious fellows would go into a bar for a steak dinner and
a few glasses of beer. After this meal, they were ready for anything.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 39 -

____ 6. It can be really embarrassing to be so emotional. Especially when you are


on your first date, you feel that you should be in control.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

____ 7. The magazine has a reputation for a sophisticated, prestigious15, and elite
group of readers. Although that is a value judgment and in circumstances not a true
premise.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

____ 8. In the seventh grade every young boy goes out for football. To prove to
himself and his parents that he is a man.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

____ 9. She opened the door and let us into her home. Not realizing at the time that
we would never enter that door in her home again.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

____10. As Christmas grows near, I find myself looking back into my childhood
days at fun-filled times of snowball fights. To think about this makes me happy.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

____11. Making up his mind quickly. Jim ordered two dozen red roses for his wife.
Hoping she would accept his apology.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

____12. They were all having a good time. Until one of Joe's oldest and best friends
had a little too much to drink.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

____13. Although it only attained a speed of about twelve miles an hour. My old
rowboat with its three-horsepower motor seemed like a high-speed job to me.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

____14. With my brother standing by my side, I reached for the pot handle. Tilting
the pot way too much caused the boiling water to spill.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

____15. The small, one-story houses are all the same size and style. With no
difference except the color.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

15

Co uy tn, co thanh the

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 40 -

____16. Being a friend of mine like he was when we first joined the soccer team.
Together we learned a lot.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

____17. Although clutch sizes vary with feeding in other species of birds.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sentence Fragment Exercises # 3


Fragment does not necessarily mean "too short." The term refers to a
situation where there is no independent clause in a sentence.
Turn the following fragments into complete sentences by adding an
independent clause.
1. Fred doing homework every night
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Whenever I think about music

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3. If everyone thought the same way as you

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4. Because credit is so easy to get from credit card companies


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5. When in the course of human events

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

6. Martina, thinking that Natalie was late and afraid that she would miss the
opening of the show, too

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7. Although the exercise seems easy

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------16

8. Leaping and jumping for joy

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

9. Which seemed like a good idea

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

10. Since the beginning of time

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

11. A possibility which is impossible for the first study

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16

Nhay co

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 41 -

12. Before I eat breakfast


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

13. Since it was such a hot day


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

14. The dentist that I go


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

15. When my sister got married


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-ING and TO fragments


When a word ending in ing or the word to appears at or near the start of a word
group, fragment may result. Such fragments often lack a subject and part of the verb
Example
1. I spent all day in the employment office. Trying to find a job that suited me.
The prospects looked bleak
2. Lora surprised Tony on the nature hike. Picking blobs17 of resin18 off pine
trees. Then she chewed them like bubble19 gum
3. To remind people of their selfishness. Otis leaves handwritten notes on cars
that take up two packing spaces.
How to correct ing fragments
1.

Attach the fragment to the sentences that comes before it or the sentence
that comes after it, whichever makes sense. (Sentence 1 could be: I spent
all day in the employment office, trying to find a job that suited me.)

2.

Add a subject and change the ing verb to the correct form of the verb.
(Sentence 2 could be: She picked blobs of resin off pine trees.)

How to correct to fragments


The first word group in the example above (number 3) is a to fragment. It can be
corrected by adding it to the sentence that comes after it:

17

Vien tron
Nha (thong)
19
Bong bong, bot tam
18

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 42 -

To remind people of their selfishness, Otis leaves handwritten notes on cars that
take up two packing spaces.
Exercises
Underline the or to fragment in each selection. Then rewrite each selection
correctly.
1. Some workers dug up the street near our house. Causing frequent vibrations
inside. By evening, all the pictures on our walls were crooked.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. I had heard about the surprise party for me. I therefore walked slowly into
the darkened living room. Preparing to look shocked.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. Jen's stomach grumbled all morning. The reason being that she skipped
breakfast to get to the bus on time.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. As I was dreaming of a sunny day at the beach, the alarm clock rang.
Wanting to finish the dream. I pushed the snooze button.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. To get back my term paper. I went to see my English instructor from last
semester. I also wanted some career advice.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------MISSING SUBJECT FRAGMENTS
Example:
1.

One example of my fathers generosity is that he visits sick friends in the


hospital. And takes along get-well cards with a few dollars folded in them.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1
2.

- 43 -

The weight lifter grunted as he heaved the barbells20 into the air. Then,
with a loud groan, dropped them

How to Correct Missing-Subject Fragments


1. Attach the fragment to the preceding sentence. Example 1 could read: "One
example of my father's generosity is that he visits sick friends in the hospital
and takes along get-well cards with a few dollars folded in them."
2. Add a subject (which can often be a pronoun standing for the subject in the
preceding sentence). Example 2 could read: "Then, with a loud groan, he
dropped them."
Practice: Underline the missing-subject fragment in each selection. Then
rewrite that part of the selection needed to correct the fragment. Use one of
the two methods of correction described above.
1. Artie tripped on his shoelace. Then looked around to see if anyone had
noticed.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. I started the car. And quickly turned down the blaring radio.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. Rita manages to exercise at work. She does toe touches while sitting at her
desk. Also, does deep-knee bends when she files.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. An obnoxious driver tailgated21 me for five blocks. Then passed me on the
right. Fortunately, he didn't get a ticket.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. My elderly aunt never stands on bus rides for long. She places herself in front
of a seated young man. And stands on his feet until he gets up.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

20
21

Thanh ta
Ban theo uoi

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 44 -

Review Test
Underline the fragment in each item below. Then correct the fragment in the space
provided.
Example: Sam received all kinds of junk mail. Then complained to the post office.
Eventually, some of the mail stopped coming.
=> Then he complained to the post office.
1. Fascinated, Nina stared at the stranger. Who was standing in the doorway.
She wondered if she could convince him they had met before.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Trees can survive on a steep mountain slope if they obey two rules.
They must grow low to the ground. And bend with the wind
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------While waiting in line at the supermarket. I look in people's baskets.
Their food choices give hints about their personalities.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. I saw spectacular twin rainbows through the kitchen window. So I rushed to
get my camera. To take a picture before they vanished.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. Whenever you buy cotton clothes, get them one size too large. By allowing
for shrinkage. You will get a longer life out of them.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. My nutty22 cousin cuts the address labels off his magazines. Then pastes
them on envelopes. This way, he doesn't have to write his return address.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. Marian never has to buy catsup23 or mustard. Because she saves the extra
packets that come with fast -food orders.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. Many maple tree seeds drifted to the ground. Spinning like tiny propellers.
With help from the wind, some landed far from the tree.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. My husband climbed his first mountain yesterday. Now he's calling all our
friends. To tell them about his peak experience.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------22
23

Banh, dien
Nc sot ca

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 45 -

8. The trivia book listed some interesting facts about Babe Ruth. For instance,
he spoke German fluently. Also, kept cool on hot days by putting wet
cabbage leaves under his cap.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

Definition

- 46 -

PART VI:
DANGLING

A dangling modifier is a word or phrase that modifies a word not clearly stated in
the sentence. A modifier describes, clarifies, or gives more detail about a concept.
Consider this sentence

"Having finished" states an action but does not name the doer of that action. In
English sentences, the doer must be the subject of the main clause that follows. In
this sentence, it is Jill. She seems logically to be the one doing the action ("having
finished"), and this sentence therefore does not have a dangling modifier.
Now consider this sentence:

Having finished is a participle expressing action, but the doer is not the TV set (the
subject of the main clause): TV sets don't finish assignments. Since the doer of the
action expressed in the participle has not been clearly stated, the participial phrase
is said to be a dangling modifier.
Examples of dangling modifiers and revisions
Dangling modifier:

(The article - the subject of the main clause - did not read the original study.)
Possible revisions:

-orThe article remains unconvincing in light of the original study. (no


modifying phrase)
Dangling modifier:

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 47 -

(Your home--the subject of the main clause--is not relieved of your


responsibilities.)
possible revision:

CHARACTERISTICS OF DANGLING MODIFIERS:


They most frequently occur at the beginning of sentences (often as introductory
clauses or phrases) but can also appear at the end.
Dangling modifier at end of sentence:

(The experiment--the subject of the main clause--is not supposed to study the lab
manual.)
Possible revision

They often have an -ing word (gerund) or a to + verb (infinitive) phrase near the
start of the sentence.
Squinting modifiers
Related to dangling modifiers, squinting modifiers occur when the word modified is
not clear or could be more than one word. These problems can usually be solved by
rearranging the elements already present in the sentence.
Squinting modifier

Possible revisions

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 48 -

STRATEGIES FOR REVISING DANGLING MODIFIERS


1. Name the appropriate or logical doer of the action as the subject of the main
clause:

Dangling
modifier: Who arrived late? This sentence says that the written excuse
arrived late.
To revise, decide who actually arrived late.
Possible The main clause now names the person (the captain) who did the
revision: action in the modifying phrase (arrived late).
2. Change the phrase that dangles into a complete introductory clause by
naming the doer of the action in that clause:

Dangling
modifier:

Who didn't know his name? This sentence says that "it" didn't know his
name. To revise, decide who was trying to introduce him.

Because Maria did not know his name, it was difficult to introduce him.
Possible
The phrase is now a complete introductory clause; it does not modify any
revision:
other part of the sentence, so is not considered "dangling."
3. Combine the phrase and main clause into one:

Dangling
modifier:
Possible
revision:

Who wanted to improve results? This sentence says that the


experiment was trying to improve its own results. To revise,
combine the phrase and the main clause into one sentence.
He improved his results by doing the experiment again.

DANGLING CONSTRUCTIONS
A dangling construction is a phrase or clause that either modifies nothing in the
sentence or that seems to modify a word to which it is not logically related. A

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 49 -

dangling construction is most often the result of carelessness in writing or thinking.


Eliminate a dangling construction by (1) making the modifier apply clearly to the
word it modifies or (2) expanding the dangling phrase into a subordinate clause.
AVOID DANGLING PARTICIPLES
A participle, though it does not make an assertion, nonetheless does imply an actor.
Failure to identify this actor creates misleading - and sometimes humorous - effects.
Dangling

Revised
Revised
Dangling
Revised
Revised

Driving through the mountains, several bears were seen. (The


participle driving modifies nothing, although it seems to modify
bears, to which it is not logically related.)
Driving through the mountains, we saw several bears. (Driving
clearly modifies we, the subject of the main clause.)
When we drove through the mountains, we saw several bears. (The
modifying phrase is expanded into a subordinate clause.)
Riding my bicycle, a dog chased me. (Riding modifies nothing; it
cannot logically modify dog.)
Riding my bicycle, I was chased by a dog. (Riding clearly modifies I ,
the subject of the main clause.)
While I was riding my bicycle, a dog chased me. (The modifying
phrase is expanded into a subordinate clause.)

EXERCISE Revise the following sentences to eliminate the dangling participial


phrases.
1. Visiting New York for the first time the skyscrapers were truly impressive.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. Knowing little about Asian customs, the first Presidential tour was not
entirely successful
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. Sitting at an outdoor cafe, Paris reveals its eternal variety.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. Lying on the sidewalk, the police arrested the derelict.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. Being made of glass, I handled the tabletop carefully.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. Driving along at top speed, the road look an unexpected turn to the left.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. Spanning the Narrows. I realized the Verrazano Bridge was one of the
longest in the world.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. Fearless and un-caged, visitors to game preserves must be careful not to
excite the animals.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 50 -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. The airport delays were end less, waiting for the fog to lift.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. Being a foreigner, his ignorance of local customs made him feel helpless.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------AVOID DANGLING GERUNDS
A gerund is an -ing verb form used as a noun. Like the participle, the gerund
implies an actor, and once again you must identify that actor dearly in order to
avoid confused or ludicrous meanings.
Dangling
Revised

After putting a worm on my hook, the fish began to bite.


After putting a worm on my hook, I found that the fish began to bite.
(Putting clearly refers to the subject of the main clause.)

Dangling

Before exploring the desert, our water supply was replenished24.


(Exploring cannot logically refer to supply, the subject of the main
clause.)
Before exploring the desert, we replenished our water supply.
(Exploring refers to we, the subject of he main clause.)

Revised

EXERCISE Revise the following sentences to eliminate the dangling gerund


phrases.
1. After getting up in the morning, the day began with a good breakfast.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. On receiving words of her husband's return eyes filled with tears.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. In inspecting the car, a large dent was found in the fender.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. By reading constantly, the doctor was forced to prescribe glasses.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. After releasing the suspect, new evidence was submitted to the police.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. Upon opening the closet door the boxes on the shelf tumbled down.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. Before transferring to the new school, his mother took him to meet his future
classmates.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. By riding in an airplane, the landscape acquired a new beauty.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. By checking the answer sheet, my errors became clear to me.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------24

o ay, them vao cho ay

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 51 -

10. In preparing the launch, the space ship was examined several times.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------AVOID DANGLING INFINITIVES
Dangling
Revised
Revised
Dangling

To write effectively, practice is necessary. (To write cannot logically


refer to practice, the subject of the main clause.)
To write effectively, one must practice. (To write logically refers to
one, the subject of the main clause.)
If one wishes to write effectively, one (or he or she) must practice.
To examine the brakes, the wheel must be removed. (To examine
cannot logically refer to wheel.)
To examine the brakes, one must remove the wheel (To examine

Revised
refers to one)
Revised
If you wish to examine the brakes, you must remove the wheel.

EXERCISE Revise the following sentences to eliminate the dangling infinitive


phrases.
1. To plan a school program, career goals must be kept in mind.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. To become a concert pianist, many years of study are required.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. To be a good citizen, some knowledge of government procedure is
necessary.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. To eliminate malnutrition, food stamps were issued to the poor.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. To be appreciated properly, the volume on the record player should be high.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. To find out why the wheel shakes, the car must be driven over 50 miles an
hour.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. To be completely immune to police, several inoculation may be necessary.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. To be a financial success, a minimum of 100 performances of a play is
necessary.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. To impress a prospective employer, a neat appearance is essential
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. To be extra safe, the lock on the new apartment door was changed.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 52 -

AVOID DANGLING ELLIPTICAL CLAUSES


An elliptical clause is one in which the subject or verb is implied rather than stated.
The clause dangles if its implied subject is not the same as the subject of the main
clause. Eliminate a dangling elliptical clause by (1) making the dangling clause
agree with the subject of the main clause, or (2) supplying the omitted subject or
verb.
Dangling
Revised

Revised

When a baby, my grandfather gave me a silver cup.


When a baby, I was given a silver cup by my grandfather. (The
subject of the main clause agrees with the implied subject of the
elliptical clause.)
When I was a baby, my grandfather gave me a silver cup. (The
omitted subject and verb are supplied in the elliptical clause.)

Dangling

While rowing on the lake, the boat overturned.

Revised

While rowing on the lake, we overturned the boat. (The subject of the
main clause agrees with the implied subject of the elliptical clause.)
While we were rowing on the lake, the boat overturned (or we
overturned the boat). (The elliptical clause is expanded into a
subordinate clause.)

Revised

EXERCISE Revise the following sentences to eliminate the dangling elliptical


clauses.
1. If sighted, the astronauts would report that the man in the moon really did
exist.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. When well stewed, you drain off the juice.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. While planning the hijack of the intercontinental airplane, the police barged
in.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. If highly polished, you may slip on the floor.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. The car proved hard to drive when drinking heavily.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. When making use of birth control information, the child can arrive close to
the time planned.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. My bicycle tire went flat while hurrying to the dentist.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. If well oiled, I find my motorcycle easier to handle.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. Although a minor, the judge suspended the sentence.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 53 -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. If lost, we shall pay a reward for the ring.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Further exercises on DANGLING MODIFIERS
Underline the dangling modifier in each sentence. Then rewrite the sentence,
correcting the dangling modifier.
1. Being on a diet, my pie had no whipped cream.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. Running as fast as I could, the bus waited for me.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. After a nap in my room, my mother always gave me a snack.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. Running to catch the ball at full speed, my cap went flying into the wind.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. While looking for bargains at Sears, an exercise bike caught my eye.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. Filled with sand, Debbie took off her shoes before going into the house.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. Pedaling as fast as possible, Todd's bike pulled away from the snapping dog.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. Punctured by a pin, Dexter mended his waterbed with a plastic bandage.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. Being hungry as a bear, my dinner was enormous.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. Feet spread, the police frisked25 the suspects for weapons.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------11. Blown over in the hurricane, Jim had to build a new garage.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12. Stolen from the mall parking lot, my girlfriend spotted my sports car it next
day.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------13. Even before being housebroken, I thought the beagle was lovable.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------14. Walking down the weedy path, the old, weathered house seemed larger than
I had remembered.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------15. While dreaming about the beach, the alarm suddenly woke Lynn up.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------16. After spending most of the night outdoors in a tent, the sun rose, and went
into the house.
25

Lan tm, co tm

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 54 -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Rewrite each sentence to correct the dangling modifier. Mark the one
sentence that is correct with a C.
1. Having turned sour, I would not drink the milk.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. At the age of five, my mother bought me a chemistry set.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. While it was raining, shoppers ran into the stores.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. Having brake trouble, I drove my car slowly.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. Talking on the phone, my hot tea turned cold.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. Piled high with dirty dishes, Pete hated to look at the kitchen sink.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. Having locked my keys in the car, the police had to open it for me.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. Because they were drooping, the children watered the plants.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. After sitting through a long lecture, my foot was asleep.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. Being late, stopping for coffee was out of the question.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 55 -

REVIEW TEST
Write D for dangling or C for correct in front of each sentence. Remember that the
opening words are a dangling modifier if they are not followed immediately by a
logical subject.
1. Burning quickly, the firefighters turned several hoses on the house.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. Because it was burning quickly, the firefighters turned several hoses on the
house.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. While focusing the camera, several people wandered out of view.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. While I focused the camera, several people wandered out of view.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. When I peered down from the thirtieth floor, the cars looked like toys.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. Peering down from the thirtieth floor, the cars looked like toys.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. Suddenly sick, I drove Helen to the doctor's office.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. When Helen suddenly became sick, I drove her to the doctor's office.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. Thundering loudly, the dog trembled.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. As it thundered loudly, the dog trembled.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------11. In a sentimental frame of mind, the music brought tears to Bern's eyes.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12. As Beth was in a sentimental frame of mind, the music brought tears to her
eyes.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------13. Knowing Phil preferred pizza, our choice of restaurant was Italian.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------14. Knowing Phil preferred pizza, we chose an Italian restaurant.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------15. Because Phil preferred pizza, our choice of restaurant was Italian.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------16. The pancake was browned on one side, so Mark nipped it over.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------17. Browned on one side. Mark flipped the pancake over.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------18. Hanging by her teeth, the acrobat's body swung back and forth.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------19. Hanging by her teeth, the acrobat swung back and forth.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 56 -

20. As she hung by her teeth, the acrobat's26 body swung back and forth.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

26

Ngi bieu dien xiec

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 57 -

PART VII:
FAULTY AGREEMENT
Agreement is the grammatical relationship between a subject and a verb, or a
pronoun and its antecedent, or a demonstrative adjective and the word it modifies.
Since Modern English nouns and verbs have few inflections, or special endings,
agreement usually presents few problems. However, there are some grammatical
patterns, such as the agreement in number of a subject and verb, or a pronoun and
its antecedent, that you must watch carefully.

I. Make every verb agree in number with its subject


Sometimes a lack of agreement between subject and verb is merely the result of
carelessness in composition or revision. But more often, writers use a singular
subject with a plural verb or a plural subject with a singular verb, not because they
misunderstand the general rule, but because they are uncertain of the number of the
subject. This problem in agreement is most likely to arise when other words
intervene between the subject and verb.
1. Do not be confused by words or phrases that intervene between the subject
and verb. Find the subject and make the verb agree with it.
The first two chapters of the book were exciting. (The verb agrees with the
subject, chapters, not with the nearest noun, book.)
The size of the bears startles the spectators.
Singular subjects followed by such expressions as with, together with, accompanied
by, and as well as take singular verbs. The phrases introduced by such expressions
are not part of the subject, even though they do suggest a plural meaning.
Faulty
Revised

The coach, as well as the players, were happy over the victory.
The coach, as well as the players, was happy over the victory.

Faulty
Revised

The horse thief, with his two accomplices27, have been hanged.
The horse thief, with his two accomplices, has been hanged.

2. Remember that singular pronouns take singular verbs. All speakers observe
this convention when pronouns such as everyone and nobody immediately precede a
verb. No English speaker is likely to say Everyone are present, or Nobody win all
the time. But formal and informal English differ in their handling of pronouns that
refer to antecedents such as anyone, everyone, nobody. Informal English frequently
has sentences such as Everyone took off their coats, and Nobody ate their dinner.

27

Tong pham, ong loa

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 58 -

Formal English, however, clearly prefers Everyone took off his coal. And Nobody
ate his dinner.
None, either, neither, any may be followed by either a singular or a plural verb,
depending on whether you intend a singular or a plural meaning
Singular
Plural

None but a fool squanders his time


None but fools squander their time

3. Use a plural verb with two or more subjects joined by and.


A dog and a cat are seldom friends.
But use a singular verb when the two pans of a compound subject refer to the same
person or thing.
My friend and benefactor was there to help me.
4. Use a singular verb with two or more singular subjects joined by or [or nor].
If the subjects differ in number or person, make the verb agree with the subject
nearer to it
Either dean or his assistant was to have handled the mailer.
Neither the farmer nor the chickens were aware of the swooping hawk.
Either you or he has to be here.
5. When the verb precedes the subject of the sentence, be particularly careful
to find the subject and make the verb agree with it.
There are only a chair and a table left to auction.
In the balcony there are many seats.
In informal English a singular verb is often used when it is followed by a compound
subject..
Formal As a result, there are confusion, trouble, and uncertainty.
Informal As a result, there is confusion, trouble, and uncertainly.
6. Use a singular verb with collective nouns to indicate that the group is
considered as one unit. Use a plural verb to indicate that the individual
members of the group are acting separately.
The committee is meeting today.
The committee are unable to agree on a plan of action:
7. Make the verb agree with its subject, not with a predicate noun.
The best part of the program is the vocal duets.
Men are a necessity in her life.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 59 -

8. With relative pronouns use a singular verb when the antecedent is singular,
a plural verb when the antecedent is plural.
- He is the only one of the councilmen who is opposed to the plan.
(The antecedent of who is one. not councilmen.)
- He is one of the best baseball players that have come from Texas.
(The antecedent of the relative pronoun that is players, not one.)
Expressions like one of the best baseball players that commonly take a singular verb
in informal usage. Although the antecedent of that is the plural noun players, the
writer or speaker is influenced in his choice of a verb by the fact that one is
singular.
Formal
Informal

He is one of those people who are afraid to act.


He is one of those people who is afraid to act.

EXERCISE: In the following sentences correct any errors in agreement in


accordance with formal usage. Place an I before the sentences that might be correct
in informal English.
1. Each of the Congressmen have a special purpose for making this inspection
tour.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. Either the President or the members of his cabinet was ill-advised about the
distribution of farm subsidies.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. Among my favorite books are Nine Stories by. J. D. Salinger.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. There is a good many reasons for the tensions between Arabs and Israelis
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. The burden of sales taxes fall on the shoulders of the consumer.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. The crux of the urban problem are overcrowding and unemployment.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. The farmer, and not the city dweller, feel downhearted when agricultural
prices fall.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. Thirty dollars are more than a poor family can afford for a pair of shoes.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. One of the main complaints of the students are the many required courses
forced upon them.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 60 -

10. The Vietnam conflict was only one of several issues that have evoked public
dissent28.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Exercises: Making Subjects and Verbs Agree
1. Annie and her brothers (is, are) at school. ------------2. Either my mother or my father (is, are) coming to the meeting. ----------------3. The dog or the cats (is, are) outside. ----------------4. Either my shoes or your coat (is, are) always on the floor. --------------------5. George and Tamara (doesn't, don't) want to see that movie .----------------6. Benito (doesn't, don't) know the answer. ---------------------7. One of my sisters (is, are) going on a trip to France. -----------------8. The man with all the birds (live, lives) on my street.
9. The movie, including all the previews, (take, takes) about two hours to
watch. ------------10. The players, as well as the captain, (want, wants) to win. ---------------------11. Either answer (is, are) acceptable. ---------------------12. Every one of those books (is, are) fiction. -------------------13. Nobody (know, knows) the trouble I've seen. ------------------14. (Is, Are) the news on at five or six?---------------------15. Mathematics (is, are) John's favorite subject, while Civics (is, are) Andrea's
favorite subject. -----------16. Eight dollars (is, are) the price of a movie these days. ---------------------17. (Is, Are) the tweezers in this drawer? --------------------18. Your pants (is, are) at the cleaner's. -----------------------19. There (was, were) fifteen candies in that bag. Now there (is, are) only one
left!----------20. The committee (debates, debate) these questions carefully. ------------------21. The committee (leads, lead) very different lives in private. -------------------22. The Prime Minister, together with his wife, (greets, greet) the press
cordially. ----------23. All of the CDs, even the scratched one, (is, are) in this case. ------------------

28

S bat ong quan iem

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 61 -

II. Use a Singular Pronoun in Referring to a Singular Antecedent.


Use a Plural Pronoun in Referring to a Plural Antecedent
Singular
Plural

The small boy put his penny in the collection box.


The cows lost their way in the storm.

Ambiguity in the use of pronouns is an offense against clarity. The following


general rules will help you select proper pronouns:
1. In formal writing use a singular pronoun to refer to antecedents such as
person, man woman, one, any, anyone, anybody, someone, somebody, each, every,
everyone, everybody, either, neither.
Informal English frequently uses a plural pronoun to refer to antecedents such as
any, every, and their compounds, and each, someone, somebody, either, neither,
especially when a plural meaning is suggested.
Formal
Informal

Everybody held his or her breath.


Everybody held their breath.

Formal
Informal

He asked each of us to bring his or her own lunch.


He-asked each of us to bring our own lunch.

2. With a collective noun as an antecedent, use a singular pronoun if you are


considering the group as a unit. a plural pronoun if you are considering the
individual members of the group separately
The militia29 increased its watchfulness.
The band raised their instruments at the conductor's signal.
3. If two or more antecedents are joined by and, use a plural pronoun to refer
to them. If two or more singular antecedents are joined by or or nor, use a
singular pronoun to refer to them. If one of two antecedents joined by or or
nor is singular and one plural, make the pronoun agree with the nearer.
Jack and Jim have finished their work.
Neither Jack nor Jim has finished his work.
Neither the instructor nor the students have finished their work.
EXERCISE In the following sentences make every pronoun agree with its
antecedent in accordance with formal usage. Then place an I before any sentence
that would be acceptable in familiar speech or informal writing.
1. Everyone should exercise their right to vote.
29

Luc lng dan quan

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 62 -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. The citizens group submitted their report to the mayor.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. Neither of the world leaders was willing to compromise on their demands.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. Everybody has their own solution to the race problem.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. None of the students in the biology class could read their own slides.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. If either a black man or a white man were qualified, they would get the job.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. No teen-ager appreciates their parents' sacrifices for them until later in life.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. If a physician or a lawyer came to this town, they would make a good living.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. Every American citizen should have the right to live wherever they can
afford to live.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. The grieved family has carried on in spite of their tragedies.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

For questions 1-10, complete the following sentences with the correct
form of the verb or pronoun.
Some of the club members haven't paid ____ dues.
a) his or her
b) their
Luis bought two records by Natalie Cole and lent ____ to me.
a) it
b) them
Someone on the bus left ____ briefcase on the seat.
a) his or her
b) their
The store is looking for clerks who ____ about gardening.
a) knows
b) know
Everyone who receives high marks ____ eligible for the scholarship.
a) is

b) are
6. The League of Women Voters ____ both male and female members.
a) has
b) have
7. Neither of those books ____ available in the school library.
a) is
b) are

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 63 -

8. If anyone knows the answer, will ____ please speak up.


a) he or she
b) they
9. Several of the band members ____ forgotten their instruments
a) has
b) have
10. Her answer to all requests of this kind ____ the same.
a) is
b) are
Sentences 11-20 form a paragraph. Some of them contain agreement
errors. Indicate whether each sentence is correct or incorrect.
11. Neither my brother nor my dad were surprised to hear that Aunt Bonnie is
going to Africa next month as a Peace Corp volunteer.
a) correct sentence (no agreement errors)
b) contains an agreement error (subject/verb or pronoun/antecedent)
12. First, she and the other members of the Kenya group gathers in Philadelphia
for a few days of orientation.
a) correct sentence (no agreement errors)
b) contains an agreement error (subject/verb or pronoun/antecedent)
13. Their focus at this point is to meet one another and get acquainted.
a) correct sentence (no agreement errors)
b) contains an agreement error (subject/verb or pronoun/antecedent)
14. Then the whole group travels together to Nairobi, Kenya, where everyone
will have their last chance for months to enjoy hot running water!
a) correct sentence (no agreement errors)
b) contains an agreement error (subject/verb or pronoun/antecedent)
15. After one night in Nairobi, half of them leaves for the town of Naivasha for
eleven weeks of cultural sensitivity training.
a) correct sentence (no agreement errors)
b) contains an agreement error (subject/verb or pronoun/antecedent)
16. Each of the volunteers gets to live with a Kenyan family during this period of
training.
a) correct sentence (no agreement errors)
b) contains an agreement error (subject/verb or pronoun/antecedent)
17. The close daily contact will help each volunteer learn to converse in Swahili,
one of the languages spoken in Kenya.
a) correct sentence (no agreement errors)
b) contains an agreement error (subject/verb or pronoun/antecedent)
18. Bonnie doesn't know exactly where in Kenya she is going to be posted.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 64 -

a) correct sentence (no agreement errors)


b) contains an agreement error (subject/verb or pronoun/antecedent)
19. She, as well as the other members of her group, expect to be assigned to the
area of greatest need.
a) correct sentence (no agreement errors)
b) contains an agreement error (subject/verb or pronoun/antecedent)
20. No one in the group has been told their specific job assignment, but Bonnie
says she will probably be helping Kenyans develop small businesses.
a) correct sentence (no agreement errors)
b) contains an agreement error (subject/verb or pronoun/antecedent)

III. Make Sure That a Demonstrative Adjective (this, that, these,


those) Agrees In Number with the Noun It Modifies
These adjective forms seldom cause difficulty. One frequent error, however, occurs
when the demonstrative adjective is used with kind of or sort of followed by plural
nouns. Here you must remember that the demonstrative adjective modifies the
singular noun kind or sort and not the following plural noun. Thus a singular
demonstrative is used.
Nonstandard
Standard

These kind of strawberries taste sweet.


This kind of strawberry tastes sweet.

Nonstandard
Standard

These sort of watches are expensive.


This sort of watch is expensive.

EXERCISE In the following sentences correct every error of agreement in


accordance with formal usage.
1. The young senator was one of those kind of politicians who is usually
described as "flamboyant."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. Congress should pass a law that everyone must vote or they will be fined.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. The committee on admission of new members do not approve the nomination
of Mr. Smith.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. The President with his cabinet members are touring South America.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. Ignorance is one of the major forces that encourage crime
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. Two solutions to national traffic problems have been offered but neither
have been tried.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. Poverty is still one of the major problems that afflict our society.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 65 -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. The NAACP is only one of the groups that are trying to better condition for
black Americans.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. The administrator told the milling, showing crowd he would not put up with
these sort of tactics.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. After thirty, one loses both the rebelliousness and the inventiveness of their
earlier years.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------11. A chorus of jeers and catcalls were the response to the Vice-President's
appearance.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12. Although everyone wants the right to vole, they dont all exercise that right
at election lime.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------13. If world peace is to be assured, either the Eastern bloc or the Western bloc
must alter their position.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------14. The Democratic Party lost several of their congressional seats in the last
election.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------15. If someone wants to "do their thing," they should be allowed to.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 66 -

PART VIII:
FAULTY REFERENCE OF PRONOUNS
A pronoun depends for meaning upon a noun or another pronoun. Insure clarity in
your writing by making pronoun antecedents clear and obvious. Place pronouns as
close to their antecedents as possible and make pronoun references exact.

I. Avoid Sentences in Which There Are Two Possible Antecedents


for a Pronoun
Ambiguous

Jack told Carl that he was ungrateful. (Is he Jack or Carl?)

Clear
Clear
Clear

Jack said to Carl, "You are ungrateful."


Jack said to Carl, "1 am ungrateful."
Jack confessed to Carl that he was ungrateful.

Ambiguous

After Mrs. Henry scolded little Sylvia, she regretted her rudeness.
(To whom do she and her refer?)
After Mrs. Henry scolded her, little Sylvia regretted her rudeness.
After scolding little Sylvia, Mrs. Henry regretted her own rudeness.

Clear
Clear

EXERCISE Revise the following sentences by eliminating the ambiguous


reference of pronouns.
1. He dropped the record on the phonograph30 arm and broke it.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. If Hitler had behaved differently with Stalin, he might not have had to take
the action he did.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. When our president met with their premier, he felt a new chapter in history
had begun.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. Sidney gave his brother a copy of Catcher in the Rye, which was one of his
favorite books.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. The American people have elected a number of inadequate presidents, but
Congress has kept them from ruining the country.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. Marilyn told Susan that she should never have married Jim.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. George had a dog with fleas which he was always scratching.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------30

May haut quay a

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 67 -

8. Joan told her friend that she should take speech lessons.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. John Steinbeck should have written a biography of Martin Luther King after
he won the Nobel Prize.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. When Kathy visited her mother she was very angry.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

II. Avoid References to an Antecedent Which Is Remote from the


Pronoun, or so Placed as to Confuse the Reader
Remote

Clear
Clear

Vague

Clear

The birds sang in the forest where the undergrowth was thick, and a
brook31 went slowly in the valley.
They were of many colors. (The pronoun they is too far removed
from its antecedent, birds.)
. . . The birds were of many colors. (Confusion in meaning avoided
by repetition of the noun.)
The birds, which were of many colors, sang in the forest. . . .
(Elimination of the remote reference by changing the second
sentence of the example into a subordinate clause.)
When the President's committee was established, he appointed
student representatives. (Reference to an antecedent in the
possessive case is confusing.)
When the President established his committee, he appointed student
representatives.

Vague

He leaned over the bench for hours working on the blueprints32. It


was low to be comfortable (Confusing: The reference of it is not
clear until the reader completes the sentence.)

Clear

He leaned over the bench for hours working on the blueprints. The
bench was too low to be comfortable.

EXERCISE
Revise all sentences in which pronouns are too remote from their antecedents.
1. The school belongs to the community. Students and their parents should
work closely with faculty and administrators in developing programs of
instruction and recreation. It could be the meeting place for all community
activities.

31
32

Con suoi
Ke hoach, thiet ke

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 68 -

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. The delegates arrived in twos and threes for the emergency session at the
UN. Interested spectators were also streaming in. They stopped only to pose
for the press photographers at the entrance.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. The crowd watched as the computer projected the election returns all across
the nation. It moaned. It groaned. It was an unexpected defeat.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. She argued that yoga exercise is a means of achieving relaxation, and that
artists, writers, and even office workers find it necessary.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. He and his opponent made promises to the people of the nation to augment
and revitalize the various poverty programs. But they were soon forgotten
after the election.
Rewrite each of the following sentences to make clear the vague preference.
Add, change, or omit words as necessary.
1. The defendant told the judge he was mentally ill.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. Fran removed the blanket from the sofa bed and folded it up.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. Before the demonstration, they passed out signs for us to carry.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. Renny had to keep reminding her aunt that she had a dentist appointment
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. Because I didn't rinse last night's dishes, it smells like a garbage can.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. My sister removed the curtains from the windows so that she could wash
them.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. Richard said his chiropractor33 could help my sprained shoulder, but I don't
believe in it.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. I discovered when I went to sell my old textbooks that they've put out new
editions, and nobody wants to buy mine.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

33

Ngi cha benh ve khp xng

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 69 -

III. Avoid the Vague Use of this, that, or which to REFER to the
general idea of a preceding clause or sentence
Informal English frequently uses this, that, or which to refer to the general idea of a
preceding clause or sentence. Even relatively formal written English accepts such
general antecedents when the reference is unmistakably clear. In general, however,
it is preferable that a pronoun refers to a particular word in the sentence.
Formal
Informal

His joining a fraternity, which was unexpected, pleased his family.


(Which refers specifically to joining.)
He joined a fraternity, which was unexpected and pleased his family.
(The reference is clear, although which refers to the entire preceding
clause, not to any specific word.)

Eliminate a vague reference by (1) recasting sentence to eliminate the pronoun, or


(2) supplying a specific antecedent for the pronoun
Vague
Clear
Clear

The profits from the investment would be large, which I realized


almost immediately.
I realized almost immediately that the profits from the investment
would be large. (The pronoun is eliminated.)
The profits from the investment would be large, a fact that I realized
almost immediately. (A specific antecedent is supplied for the
pronoun that.)

EXERCISE Revise all sentences in which the reference of pronouns is vague.


1. The field-and-track events were poorly supported, which frustrated many
students.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. Martin Luther King was dedicated to nonviolence, which influenced him to
become a minister.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. People should always vote on election day. This is an indication of their
desire to have good government.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. Marion Brando mumbles his lines and scratches his nose, which he learned
at the Actor's Studio.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. The government pays farmers not to grow crops. This is not helping to solve
the problem of hunger among poor people.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 70 -

6. Migrant farm workers are not protected by the slate's labor laws, and this
should be corrected immediately.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. The student paper said that the public health office should give out birth
control pills, which upset many parents.
8. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. Nations which share a water source a re always on the brink of war. This
adds much to international tension.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. There is a part on the far side of the museum, which is open to the public.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------11. She was self-conscious about her money. But this didn't bother her real
friends.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IV. Do Not Use a Pronoun to Refer to a Noun That Is Not


Expressed but Is Merely Implied by the Preceding Construction
Weak

Clear
Weak
Clear

Because we put the wire fence around the chicken yard, they cannot
escape. (The sentence implies the antecedent chickens, but the word
is not expressed.)
Because we put the wire fence around the chicken yard, the chickens
cannot escape.
Tom's brother is an engineer, and this is the profession Tom wants to
study. (This cannot logically refer to engineer.)
Tom's brother is an engineer, and engineering is the profession Tom
wants to study.

EXERCISE In the following sentences eliminate all references to unexpressed


antecedent
1. She is a meticulous housekeeper because she learned it when she was a
child.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. He took the shutters off the window frames and painted them.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. Because Lucy had never worked a potters wheel, she supposed it was easy.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. Dad told Ross that he stayed up watching television too late.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 71 -

5. There is a police station near the church, and we called them when we saw
broken windows in the basement.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. The orange trees were covered with cloths and fanned by the warmth of
smudge pots. This was due to the frost that settled over Florida.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. After hearing a lecture on underwater sound experimentation, Mr. Eldon had
great admiration for them.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. Whenever Shirley meets Rose, she seems annoyed.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. Take the baby out of the bathwater and throw it away.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. We plucked off the feathers before we roasted them.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

V. Avoid the Indefinite Use of they, you, and it


The indefinite use of they, you, and it is very common in spoken English, but is
generally avoided in all but the most informal written English.
Formal
In less industrialized areas, the problems of the city are not
understood.
Informal
In less industrialized areas, they do not understand the problems of
the city.
Formal
In some states motorists are not permitted to drive faster than fifty
miles an hour.
Informal
In some states you are not permitted so drop faster than fifty miles an
hour.
Formal
Informal

The newspaper says that Monday will be warmer.


It says in the newspaper that Monday will be warmer.

EXERCISE Revise the following sentences to avoid the indefinite use of they, you,
and it,
1. In every society you have to expect that some people will not be able to
provide for themselves.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. In Central America you hear of revolutions every few months.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 72 -

3. In the peace agreement, it said that all American prisoners would be


released.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. Throughout the development of the West, they drove back the Indians and
look their land.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. In the Victorian era, they never talked about sex in public.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. When I called the CIA, they said they didn't have any openings for summer
jobs.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. It says almost nothing in the textbooks about our real treatment of Chicanos
and other minorities.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. The government pays large sums everywhere except where you need it.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. In every generation, you find a generation gap.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. In the first few verses of the bible, it describes the creation of the world.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 73 -

PART IX:
SHIFTS IN POINT OF VIEW - MIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
POINT OF VIEW is said to be consistent when we continue the use of one subject,
one person and number in pronouns, and one tense, mood, or voice in verbs, as far
as grammar allows. Needless deviations in any of these elements, forcing the
reader to shift gears, will impair the effectiveness of your sentences.

I. Do not Shift the Subject of a Sentence or the Voice of the Verb


Faulty
Revised
Faulty

Revised

Frog could be heard croaking as we neared the swamp. (The subject


shifts from frogs to we. The verb shifts from passive to active voice.)
We heard frogs croaking as we neared the swamp.
Ellen stayed at a mountain resort, and much of her time was spent in
painting. (The subject shifts from Ellen to much. The verb shifts from
active to passive voice.)
Ellen stayed at a mountain resort and spent much of time in painting.

EXERCISE Revise the following sentences by eliminating all needless shifts in


subject or voice.
1. After we heard the lectures, questions were asked.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. First the surface should be carefully cleaned; then put the glue on.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. He marked the distance from the crosswalk to the curb, and then a heavy
yellow line was painted across the area.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. David was a fine archer34, but his strength was not great enough to pull that
heavy box.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. Mr. Jones put putty around all the windowpanes35, and then the broken
windowpanes were repaired.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. After a path was dug through the snow by the children, they began coasting
on their sleds.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. The most plentiful supply of gold in the world is found in South Africa while
Mexico leads in silver mining.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------34
35

Ngi ban cung


O knh o3

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 74 -

8. If you use highly fired china in your dishwasher, it will last longer.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. After a hot fire was built by the campers, they dried their wet clothing.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. A man needs more than intelligence to be a good legislator36; you also have
to be a student of human nature.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

II. Do Not Shift Person or Number


Faulty
Revised
Revised
Faulty
Revised
archer.

When you have good health, one should feel fortunate. (A shift from
second to third person.)
When you have good health, you should feel fortunate.
When one has good health, one should feel fortunate.
If a person practices diligently, they can become an expert archer. (A
shift from singular to plural number.)
If a person practices diligently, he or she can become an expert

EXERCISE Revise the following sentences by eliminating all needless shifts in


person or number
1. No matter what political party one belongs to, you should listen to all the
candidates.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. You should install a safety bell in your car because they help to save lives.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. A public opinion poll is based on a cross section of the population, but they
have occasionally been wrong.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. When one is feeling tired, a candy bar will give you some quick energy.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. Leonard Benstein once said of the New York Philharmonic that they were
second to none.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. Everyone should have access to birth control information, if their religious
convictions permit.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------36

Ngi / c quan lap phap

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 75 -

7. The average black American today feels it is less important to imitate while
people than for them to develop a feeling of racial pride in themselves.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. Most people enjoy a novel by Tolstoy because their characters so
interesting.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. If one is dissatisfied with the way the government is being run, you should
write to your congressman more often.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. I tried cigarette smoking but they made my throat sore.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

III. Do not shift Tense or mood


Faulty
Revised
Faulty

Revised

He sat down at his desk and begins to write. (The verb shifts from
past tense to present tense)
He sat down and began to write.
Hold the rifle firmly against your shoulder, and then you should take
careful aim. (The verb shifts from imperative mood to indicative
mood.)
Hold the rifle firmly against your shoulder and then take careful aim.

EXERCISE Revise the following sentences by eliminating all needless shifts in


tense or mood.
1. When I smoked cigarettes, they don't do me any good.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. First you should learn about the issues, and then vote for a candidate.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. Great Expectations was exciting to read, but Miss Haversham is totally
unrealistic.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. You may prefer to travel by plane, but if the weather is bad, you might have
to go by bus.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. Since I explained to the professor why I hadn't done the work, I expect him
to pass me.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. The Sunday drivers were out in full force, and suddenly there is an accident.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. I shall be delighted to attend if my husband might accompany me.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 76 -

8. The school system is trying to revise its curriculum and the students 'were
asked to submit suggestions.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. The library has an intricate system of ordering books, but I might find what
you wanted.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. The store manager decided to offer free samples, and suddenly the store is
packed with customers
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IV. Do Not Use Mixed Constructions


A mixed construction is one in which a writer begins a sentence with one
construction and then shifts to another.
The fact that John was a good student he received many offers for wellpaying jobs.
As a suburban town, many homeowners are commuters.
I think the use of DDT was by far the most dangerous in this county.
This error may occur when you are writing longer and more complex sentences
than- you commonly write. Careful proofreading of your papers is the best remedy,
for once you are aware of the error, you can easily correct it.
Mixed

Take, for example, in the strip mines of southeastern Ohio, the


blaster has one of the best-playing jobs

Revised

For example, in the strip mines of southeastern Ohio, the blaster has
one of the best-playing jobs

Mixed

If we here in America cannot live peaceably and happily together,


we cannot hope that nations that have different living conditions to
live peaceably with us.

Revised

If we here in America cannot live peaceably and happily together,


we cannot expect that other nations that have different living
conditions will live peaceably with us.

Mixed

Every few hundred feet a test sample of the layer of earth a bit of it
is analyzed to determine the distance from oil.

Revised

Every few hundred feet a test sample of the layer of earth is


analyzed to determine the distance from oil.

A more specific kind of mixed construction springs from the use of an improper
verb tense in indirect quotations.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1
Mixed
Revised

- 77 The manager told me he would have my car for me as soon as he can


get the service garage.
The manager told me he would have my car for me as soon as he
could get the service garage.

EXERCISE Eliminate any mixed constructions in the following sentences


1. As a center for the performing arts. most young actors and actresses are
eager to go to New York.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. I tried to explain the generation gap to my parents who, from their attitudes,
one would think they hadnt read anything in years.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. In every effort the student made to explain the problem to his instructor got
him more confused.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. By allowing black Americans to develop and enforce their unique culture
will increase their sense of racial pride and identity.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. Wage increases are regular but the way the cost of living is rising they don't
make much difference.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. By introducing sex education in the elementary school young people could
approach marriage with understanding and maybe they would last longer.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. LSD might be a useful drug, but the way it is used by young people it seems
to do more harmful than good.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. Much help came from the instructor tried a second time to explain the idea
to his students.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. The law requires you to go to high school until of a certain age, besides
being an accepted policy that all children go through at least high school.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. By sitting down to talk together, many family problems could be avoided
altogether.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 78 -

PART X:
MISPLACED PARTS
Modern English, as we have seen in our discussion of grammar, relies heavily upon
word order to show relations among words. The Latin sentences Puella amat
agricolam and Agricolam amatpuella have the same literal meaning: The girl loves
the farmer. Even though the positions of subject and object are reversed, the special
endings (-a and -am) make the meaning of the sentence unmistakable. But if the
English equivalents of the Latin words are reversed, so is the English meaning: The
girl loves the farmer; The farmer loves the girl. Word order, in short, is crucial to
meaning in our language.
Just as word order is the principal means by which we keep our subject-verb-object
relations clear, so it is the principal grammatical means by which we keep many of
our modifiers attached to the words they modify. We have to be especially
watchful of phrases and clauses that modify nouns, since they normally attach to
the nearest noun preceding them. Consequently, unless we are careful we can
write sentences such as
He bought a horse from a stranger with a lame hind leg.
We met a boy from the school in New York.
Context usually - though not always - allows the reader to work out the meaning
intended in such sentences. But by the time he does so, he is, at best, distracted
from the point.

I. Be Sure That Adverbs Such as almost, even, hardly, just, merely,


only, nearly, scarcely Refer Clearly and Logically to the Words They
Modify
The misplacement of these modifiers - particularly only-does not always result in
confusion. The misplaced only, in fact, is rather common in informal English.
However, if you are to avoid ambiguity in meaning you must exercise care in
placing modifiers.
Formal
Informal

We caught only three fish.


We only caught three fish.

Illogical
Clear

She nearly blushed until she was purple.


She blushed until she was nearly purple

Misplaced
Clear

I almost read half the book.


I read almost half the book.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 79 -

EXERCISE In the following sentences place the adverbs nearer the word they
modify
1. He almost seemed amused.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. The U.S. Constitution37 just docked here last week.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. The prisoner only confessed when the victim confronted him.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. Everyone nearly suffer when unemployment rises.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. Since she had never appeared on a stage before, she nearly was faint from
fright.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. She merely refused our offer of help because she wanted to be independent.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. Football is a sometimes-violent sport, and even some players are badly hurt.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. The earthquake victims needed nurses to bandage their wounds badly.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. Reports wilt only be completed after all final examinations are finished.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. The administration scarcely provided any funds for poverty programs
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

II. Be Sure That Modifying Phrases Refer Clearly to the Words


They Modify
Illogical
Clear

Who is the woman who gave you the candy in the pink dress?
Who is the woman in the pink dress who gave you the candy?

Illogical
Clear

This poison attracts mice with the smell of cheese.


This poison with the smelt of cheese attracts mice.

EXERCISE In the following sentences, place the modifying phrases nearer the
words they modify.
1. Susan reported the accident in a quivering voice.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. A small boy was found lost in a cowboy suit on Central Street.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. The President announced that he would confer with his cabinet at his press
conference last week.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------37

Hien phap

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 80 -

4. The audience watched the go-go dancers with admiring eyes.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. He dropped out of school after three years attendance on Friday.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. The furnace exploded after the patrons left the theater with a loud crash
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. The government is watching the cost of food spiral upward with out doing
anything.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. The astronauts looked forward to landing on the moon for several years.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. The boy was rescued after he was nearly drowned by a lifeguard.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. He stopped the car before the house on the street with the green shutters.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------III. Be Sure That Modifying Clauses Refer Clearly to the Words They Modify
Illogical
She borrowed an egg from a neighbor that was rotten.
Clear
From a neighbor she borrowed an egg that was rotten.
Illogical
Clear

There was a canary in the cage that never sang.


In the cage there was a canary that never sang.

Illogical
Clear

A dog is good company that is well trained.


A dog that is well trained is good company.

EXERCISE He In the following sentences, place the modifying clauses nearer the
words they modify.
1. He bought a sports car from a dealer that had been completely re-hauled and
repainted.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. We watched the championship game on the TV that our team won.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. She uses hair coloring on her hair which she buys wholesale.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. I took a bus at Times Square that was going uptown.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. He bought a Great Dane from a neighbor that was already house broken.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. He secured a Job with the government after he graduated from college
which lasted twenty years.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. She was knitting socks for her children that were warm.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. She bought an alarm clock for her husband that was guaranteed for life.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 81 -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. The new house was next to the park with three bedrooms.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. He tried to get to know girls with a new approach.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IV. Avoid "Squinting" Modifiers


A "squinting" modifier is one that may modify either a preceding word or a
following word. It squints at the words on its right and left and leaves the reader
confused.
Squinting
Clear
Clear

His physician told him frequently to exercise.


His physician frequently told him to exercise.
His physician told him to exercise frequently.

Squinting
report.
Clear
yesterday
Clear
its report

The committee which was studying the matter yesterday turned in its
The committee which was studying the matter turned in its report
The committee which spent yesterday studying the matter turned in

EXERCISE Reset the following sentences to eliminate squinting modifiers.


1. The pilot was told constantly to be prepared for emergencies.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. The President said after the election he would raise taxes.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. The story he was reading slowly put his daughter to sleep.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. The motorcycle he was riding happily skidded off the road.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. The person who succeeds in nine cases out of ten is intelligent.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. The instructor told his students when the class was over they could ask their
questions.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. The passengers were told when it was noon the plane would take off.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. Religious faith without doubt is a comfort to many people.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. The men who were beating on the wall wildly began shooting.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. I promised when the movie was over I would tell her all about it.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 82 -

V. Do Not Split Infinitives Awkwardly


An infinitive is split when an adverbial modifier separates the to from the verb.
There is nothing ungrammatical about splitting an infinitive, and sometimes a split
is necessary to avoid awkwardness. But most split infinitives are unnecessary.
Awkward
Clear

She tried to not carelessly hurt the kitten.


She tried not to hurt the kitten carelessly.

Awkward
Clear

You should try to, if you can, take a walk every day.
If you can, you should try to take a walk every day.

On the other hand, in the following examples the sentence with the split infinitive is
the less awkward.
Clear

Awkward

Needing an advantage in the race, he expected to more than gain it


by diligent practice. (Awkwardness results if more than is moved to
any other position in the sentence.)
Needing an advantage in the race, he more than expected to gain it
by diligent practice.

EXERCISE Revise the following sentences by eliminating awkward split


infinitives
1. The President promised to, if the budget permits, consider instituting a
wage-supplement law.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. The owner of the discotheque asked the boys to immediately produce proof
of their age.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. The availability of birth control information helps to effectively reduce the
number of unwanted children.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. The students voted to for once and for all abolish fraternities from school
activities.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. Black Americans are determined to never again settle for subordinate status.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. The policemen tried to tactfully and quietly intervene between the
quarreling families.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. The main problem in 1855 was to successfully resolve the differences
between North and South.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 83 -

8. The major nations of the world regularly decide to one day in the near future
reduce their armaments.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. It's helpful to immediately send in your tax return after the first of the year.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. You have to willingly accept the idea that you are your brother's keeper, or
the condition of man will never improve.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Further exercises on MISPLACED MODIFIERS
I. Underline the misplaced word or words in each sentence. Then rewrite the
replacing related words together and making the meaning clear.
1. Barry decided to quit smoking while jogging.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. The suburbs nearly had five inches of rain.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. I decided to send fewer Christmas cards out this year in October.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. My mother talked about her plans to start a garden while preparing cooking
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. The car was parked along the side of the road with a flat tire.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. Olivia stretched out on the lounge chair wearing her bathing suit.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. Caryl read an article about starting your own business in the dentist's.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. A cake baked by my brother covered with coconut and candies was the
winner.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. I replaced the shingle on the roof that was loose.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. The instructor explained why cheating was wrong on Friday.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------11. Mike ordered a large pizza for his family topped with extra cheese.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12. The helicopter filmed the migrating antelope hovering overhead.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------13. We bought a television set at our neighborhood video store that has stereo
sound.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------14. The magician almost held his breath for five minutes while escaping from
the submerged trunk.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 84 -

15. Neighborhood children watched the new family move in from the street
comer.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------16. Newspapers ran the story of the congressman's lies in every part of the
country.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------II. Underline the misplace word or words in each sentences. Then rewrite the
sentence, placing related words together and thereby making the meaning
clear.
1. The tiger growled at a passerby at the back of his cage.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. Arthur spilled a full bottle on the table of soda.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. We watched the fireworks standing on our front porch.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. Jason almost has two hundred baseball cards.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. The salesclerk exchanged the blue sweater for a yellow one with a smile.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. Jenny kept staring at the man in the front row with curly hair.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7. I love the cookies from the bakery with the chocolate frosting.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. The faculty decided to strike during their last meeting
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. Larry looked on as his car burned with disbelief.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. My cousin sent me instructions on how to get to her house in a letter.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------III. Rewrite each sentence, adding the italicized words. Make sure that the
intended meaning is clear and that two different interpretations are not
possible.
Example:

I borrowed a pen for the essay test. (Insert that ran our of ink)
For the essay test, I borrowed a pen that ran out of ink.

1. I was thrilled to read that my first niece was born. (Insert in a telegram)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. My father agreed to pay for the car repairs, (insert over the phone)

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 85 -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3. I found a note on the kitchen bulletin board. (Insert from Jeff.)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. The children ate the whole bag of cookies. (Insert almost.)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. Jon read about how the American Revolution began. (Insert during class)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------IV. For questions 1-5, choose the correct form of the modifier in each
sentence.
1. Martin was sure that he was the ______ speller in the class.
worst

a) worse

b)

2. Having leaned back in his chair, the lawyer began reading the fine print of the
contract very _.
a) slow

b) slowly

3. Norman reads ______ for a child of seven.


b) good

a) well

4. Of your two sisters, which is the ______?


older

a) oldest

b)

5. The senator seemed ______ in his opposition to the proposal.


a) adamant38

38

b) adamantly

Cng ran

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 86 -

For questions 6-10, choose the sentence in which modifiers are used correctly.
6.
a) Frightened by our presence, the rabbit's ears perked up, and its nose
twitched.
nose.
7.

b) Frightened by our presence, the rabbit perked up its ears and twitched its
a) To interpret this poem, one needs a knowledge of mythology.
b) To interpret this poem, a knowledge of mythology is needed.

8.
zoo.
screen.
9.

a) Lois projected the photographs on a large screen that she had taken at the
b) Lois projected the photographs that she had taken at the zoo on a large
a) My aunt had finally mastered the art of making stuffed cabbage, filled
with a sense of accomplishment.
b) Filled with a sense of accomplishment, my aunt had finally mastered the
art of making stuffed cabbage.

10.

a) Before moving to Sacramento, they had lived in Pittsburgh for ten years.
b) Before moving to Sacramento, Pittsburgh had been their home for ten

years.
The sentences for questions 11-20 form a paragraph. Many of the sentences
contain at least one error in the use of modifiers. Identify whether each
numbered sentence a) correctly uses modifying words or phrases or b)
incorrectly uses modifying words or phrases.
11. Before the 1800's, much about life in ancient Egypt was unknown because
nobody could read Egyptian hieroglyphics.
a) Correctly uses modifying words or phrases.
b) Incorrectly uses modifying words or phrases.
12. Then a black stone found in the Nile delta gave Egyptology more publicity than
it had ever had before.
a) Correctly uses modifying words or phrases.
b) Incorrectly uses modifying words or phrases.
13. Found in 1799 near a village called Rosetta, archaeologists called the slab the
Rosetta Stone.
a) Correctly uses modifying words or phrases.
b) Incorrectly uses modifying words or phrases.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 87 -

14. The slab was inscribed across its polished surface with three bands of writing,
each in a different language: hieroglyphics39 on the top, another unknown language
in the middle, and Greek on the bottom.
a) Correctly uses modifying words or phrases.
b) Incorrectly uses modifying words or phrases.
15. Scholars could almost read all the Greek writing, which stated that each of the
three bands contained the same decree in honor of Ptolomy V.
a) Correctly uses modifying words or phrases.
b) Incorrectly uses modifying words or phrases.
16. Full of excitement, it was hoped by archaeologists that they could use the Greek
part to figure out the hieroglyphics.
a) Correctly uses modifying words or phrases.
b) Incorrectly uses modifying words or phrases.
17. But progress in translating the individual hieroglyphics went very slow.
a) Correctly uses modifying words or phrases.
b) Incorrectly uses modifying words or phrases.
18. Until this time, archaeologists thought that each symbol stood for a whole word.
a) Correctly uses modifying words or phrases.
b) Incorrectly uses modifying words or phrases.
19. However, a French scholar working on the Rosetta Stone named Jean Francois
Champollion wondered why it took more hieroglyphic symbols than Greek words to
write the same message.
a) Correctly uses modifying words or phrases.
b) Incorrectly uses modifying words or phrases.
20. He correctly guessed that certain symbols stand for parts of words, and after
working hard for twenty years, many of the signs were proved to stand for sounds.
a) Correctly uses modifying words or phrases.
b) Incorrectly uses modifying words or phrases.
V. Write M for misplaced or C for correct in front of each sentence; then
rewrite the it
1. I keep a dollar under the car seal for emergencies.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2. I keep a dollar for emergencies under the car seat.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------39

Ch viet tng hnh

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 88 -

3. This morning, I planned my day in the shower.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4. In the shower this morning, I planned my day.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5. White roller-skating, Ben ran over a dog's tail.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6. Ben ran over a dog's tail roller-skating.
7. I could hear my neighbors screaming at each other through the apartment
wall.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------8. Through the apartment wait, I could hear my neighbors screaming at each
other.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9. For our anniversary, my husband gave me a scarf, which I exchanged for
another scarf.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------10. My husband gave me a scarf for our anniversary, which I exchanged for
another scarf.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------11. Roger visited the old house, still weak with the flu.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12. Roger, still weak with the flu, visited the old house.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------13. While still weak with the flu, Roger visited the old house.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------14. My teenage son nearly grew three inches last year.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------15. My teenage son grew nearly three inches last year.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------16. The instructor explained how to study for the final exam at the end of her
lecture.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------17. The instructor explained how to study at the end of her lecture for the final
exam.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------18. At the end of her lecture, the instructor explained how to study for the final
exam.

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng

Writing 1

- 89 -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------19. On the radio, we heard that a volcano erupted this morning.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------20. We heard that a volcano erupted on the radio this morning.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GOOD LUCK TO YOUR STUDIES

Nguyen Tat Thang

Khoa Ngoai Ng