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SENTENCE PROBLEMs

SENTENCE ERRORS
Sentences are made when we string words together to convey a complete thought. There are some types of sentence errors that occur more frequently than others. It's important to know the most common types of errors and to avoid them in your writing.

Types Of Sentence ERRORS


FRAGMENTS
RUN-ON

SENTENCES COMMA SPLICE FAULTY PARALLELISM

FRAGMENTS

A statement that cannot stand alone as a sentence A sentence fragment may be lacking a subject, a verb, or both It might even contain words that look like subjects and verbs

Common Causes of Sentence Fragments

When using "ing" words, you must have a helping verb and a subject. An "ing" word is not a definite verb; therefore, it will not function by itself to form a complete sentence. Example: Fragment: A cure for the disease being researched. Sentence: A cure for the disease was being researched.
Reminders: A helping verb joins with the main verb to express an action or state of being. Am, are, be, been, is, was, and were are some common helping verbs. A subject is the person or thing which does the action in the sentence.

Common Causes of Sentence Fragments


An infinitive form of a verb will not make a complete sentence. Like "ing" words, an infinitive is not a definite verb either. An infinitive is the combination of to and the base form of a verb: to see, to be, to do. Infinitives are used in sentences, but they require a definite verb to function as the action in the sentence. Example: Fragment: The center to plan a mission statement. Sentence: The center plans to develop a mission statement.

Common Causes of Sentence Fragments


An explanatory phrase or group of explanatory words does not make a complete sentence on its own. Example: Fragment: The teenagers like to watch sports. Such as hockey, when they are on television.

Sentence: The teenagers like to watch sports, such as hockey, when they are on television.

RUN-ON SENTENCES

Consists of two or more main clauses that are run together without proper punctuation Is a sentence in which two or more independent clause are joined without appropriate punctuation or conjunction Are sentences that contain several clauses connected by coordinating conjunctions such as: and, or, but, yet, for, nor, and so

Common Causes Of Run-ons

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.)

Common Causes Of Run-ons


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.)

Common Causes Of Run-ons

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.

COMMA SPLICE

A comma splice occurs when two independent clauses (clauses that could be sentences on their own) are jammed together with a comma.

EXAMPLE:
His family went to Australia then they immigrated to Canada. His family went to Australia; then they immigrated to Canada. The experiment failed, it had been left unobserved for too long. The experiment failed; it had been left unobserved for too long.

FAULTY PARALLELISM

Are parts of a sentence which are listed as a sequence, but do not follow the same grammatical or structural principle Parallelism in writing means that each item in a list or comparison should follow the same grammatical pattern.

Examples of Faulty Parallelism


The teacher wanted to know which country we came from and our future goals. The teacher wanted to know which country we came from and what our future goals were. He liked to play basketball and riding horses. He liked to play basketball and ride horses.

Phrases and Clauses

What is the difference between a clause and a phrase?

Clause a group of words that have a subject and a verb that must always agree Phrase a noun, verb, or preposition with all its modifiers
- does NOT have a subject and verb which agree

Types of Phrases
Noun phrases Verb phrases Prepositional phrases Appositive phrases Verbal Phrases

Noun Phrase
Definition: -A noun with all its modifiers -A complete subject is always classified as a noun phrase.
Example:

The frustrated, irritated teachers...


Noun: teachers Modifiers: the, frustrated, irritated

Verb Phrase
Defined as a verb with all of its modifiers EXAMPLE: completely frightened the seventh grade students.

Verb - frightened Modifier - completely


EXAMPLE: would like to improve her grammar skills. Verb phrase - would like to improve

Prepositional Phrase

Defined as the preposition, the object of the preposition (preposition who or what), and all its modifiers
Example: The frustrated, irritated teachers enrolled in Mr. Ruffs Grammar for Dummies class. preposition - in object of the preposition - class modifiers Mr. Ruffs, Grammar for Dummies

Adjective Phrase
A prepositional phrase used as an adjective is called an adjective phrase. ADJECTIVE: Rosa chose the blue one. ADJECTIVE PHRASE: Rosa chose the one with blue stripes.

Adjective Phrases

An adjective phrase modifies a noun or a pronoun.

What kind? Which one?

Adjective phrases generally come after the words they modify and answer the same questions that singlework adjectives answer:

How many?

How much?

Adjective Phrases

The store with the neon sign is open.

We bought a CD by Janet Jackson

Adverb Phrase
A prepositional phrase used as an adverb is called an adverb phrase. ADVERB: The cavalry will reach the fort soon. ADVERB PHRASE: The cavalry will reach the fort by noon.

Adverb Phrases
Adverb phrases answer the same questions that single-word adverbs answer:
When? How often? Where? How long? How? To what extent? Why?

Adverb Phrases

We got our new puppy at the animal shelter.

A puppy is always ready for a game.


He barks loudly for a puppy.

Gerund Phrase
Definition? Has a gerund, plus any complements or modifiers It acts as a noun

Examples:
By swimming daily, Sue hoped to improve her backstroke Swimming daily is the gerund phrase

Participial Phrase

Definition? Has a participle, plus any complements or modifiers It acts as an adjective Disappointed by his best friend, Roger refused to speak to him Disappointed by his best friend is the participial phrase Introductory ones are set off by commas Non-essential ones are set off by commas

Examples:

PUNCTUATION NOTE

Infinitive Phrase
Definition? Has a infinitive, plus any complements or modifiers It acts as a noun, adjective or adverb

Examples:
She has a plane to catch at eight oclock To catch at eight oclock is the infinitive phrase

Appositive Phrase

Definition: A noun phrase that renames the noun it follows. Also known as a parenthetical phrase Example: Brad Ruff, the grammar guru, empowers teachers.

Appositive phrase? - the grammar guru

CLAUSES

Definition: Words that contain a subject and a verb which must always agree.

Two types of clauses: Independent Clause Dependent Clause

Independent Clause
An independent clause MUST HAVE a subject and a verb which agree. Example: The frustrated, irritated teachers finally understood the basic grammar concepts.

All the words in an independent clause can act alone as a sentence. They are a complete thought.

Independent clauses can be connected in a variety of ways:


1. By a comma and little conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, and sometimes so). 2. By a semicolon, by itself.

3. By a semicolon accompanied by a conjunctive adverb (such as however, moreover, nevertheless, as a result, consequently, etc.). 4. And, of course, independent clauses are often not connected by punctuation at all but are separated by a period.

Dependent Clause

The subject and verb agree, but the words CANNOT stand alone as a complete sentence. also known as subordinate clause or relative clause Examples:
since the teachers seek proficiency in grammar

which sheltered the children from the storm

NOUN CLAUSES
Noun clauses do anything that a noun can do. They can be subjects, objects, and objects of prepositions. What Turveydrop has forgotten about American politics could fill entire libraries. President Johnson finally revealed what he had in mind for his congressional leaders. Sheila Thistlethwaite has written a marvelous book about how American politics and economic processes often run counter to common sense.

ADVERB CLAUSES
ADVERB CLAUSES tend to tell us something about the sentences main verb: when, why, under what conditions. After Jubal Early invaded the outskirts of Washington, Congressional leaders took the southern threat more seriously. Lincoln insisted on attending the theater that night because it was important to demonstrate domestic tranquility. Notice how the dependent clauses begin with dependent words, words that subordinate what follows to the rest of the sentence. These words are also called subordinating conjunctions.

ADJECTIVE CLAUSE
Dependent clauses can be identified and classified according to their role in the sentence.
ADJECTIVE CLAUSES modify nouns or pronouns in the rest of the sentence.. The Internet, which started out as a means for military and academic types to share documents, has become a household necessity. Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, could never have foreseen the popularity of his invention. The graphical user interface (GUI) that we all take for granted nowadays is actually a late development in the World Wide Web. Notice, now, how the subject is often separated from its verb by information represented by the dependent clause.

MISPLACED AND DANGLING MODIFIERS

MODIFIER

A word or phrase that qualifies (modifies) a word, phrase or clause.

TYPES OF MODIFIER

Adjectives (modify nouns and pronouns) (for example: the red house) Adverbs (modify verbs) (for example: he ran QUICKLY) Modifier phrases (modify an action or an actor) (LOOKING AT THE CLOCK, he noticed that he was late)

MISPLACED MODIFIER
A misplaced modifier is a word or word group whose placement suggests that it modifies one word or phrase when it is intended to modify another.

Misplaced Modifiers
i. ii. iii.

More beautiful than any human being, the explorer noticed the mermaid. Wild and untamed, Jack entered the jungle. Moaning in haunting voices, the house contained many ghosts.

Examples:
Incorrect: More beautiful than any human being, the explorer noticed the mermaid. Correct: The explorer noticed the mermaid, which was more beautiful than any human being.

Examples:
Incorrect: Wild and untamed, Jack entered the jungle. Correct: Jack entered the wild and untamed jungle.

FIXING MISPLACED MODIFIERS


A: Revise the sentence, taking care to put modifying words, phrases, and clauses in a position that clearly identifies the headword and that does not awkwardly interrupt a sentence. HINT: Usually, you can just expand the main clause.

Examples:
Incorrect: Moaning in haunting voices, the house contained many ghosts. Correct: The house contained many ghosts that moaned in haunting voices.

DANGLING MODIFIER
A dangling modifier is a word or phrase that cannot logically describe, limit, or restrict any word or word group in the sentence.

Dangling Modifiers
i.

ii. iii.

Using a variety of pedagogical techniques, the students were taught grammar. To improve his essay, each page was proofread. While reading the novel, the pages that contain important information should be marked.

FIXING DANGLING MODIFIERS


A: Add a word or word group that the dangling modifier can logically modify.

HINT: You must usually change the subject of the main clause.

Examples:
Incorrect: Using a variety of pedagogical techniques, the students were taught grammar. Correct: Using a variety of pedagogical techniques, the teacher taught the students grammar.

Example:
Incorrect: To improve his essay, each page was proofread. Correct: To improve his essay, David proofread each page.

Examples:
Incorrect: While reading the novel, the pages that contain important information should be marked. Correct: While reading the novel, you should mark the pages that contain important information.