Conquering Commas

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Presentation on the use of the comma.

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  • 1. Conquering CommasUniversity of South Florida-Ian RylottENC 1102 Spring 2009

2. Proofreading While proofreading you will want to also consider all commas in your document. Here are some things to look for which I will also go into more detail about in slides to come. Compound sentences. Comma splices. Introductory commas. Disruptive commas. Run-on sentences or fused sentence. 3. FANBOYS A valuable mnemonic tool to help remember coordinating conjunctions is FANBOYS. For And Nor But Or Yet So 4. Compound Sentences Skim your paper, looking only for the seven coordinating conjunctions: Stop at each of these words to see whether there is an independent clause (a complete sentence), on both sides of it. If so, place a comma before the coordinating conjunction. Examples: She wanted to buy a new car, but she didn't have enoughmoney to do so. The wind blew fiercely, and the rain poured down. Alaska was not the last state admitted into the US, nor does ithave the lowest total population.(Purdue) 5. Comma Splices Stop at every comma. See whether you have an independent clause (a sentence) on both sides of the comma. If so, change the sentence in one of the following ways: reword the sentence to change one clause into asubordinate (or dependent) clause add a coordinating conjunction after the comma replace the comma with a semicolon replace the comma with a period, question mark, orexclamation point, and capitalize the first word of thesecond clause comma splice: incorrect: Americans speak too rapidly, this is a commoncomplaint by foreign visitors.correct: Americans speak too rapidly; this is a commoncomplaint by foreign visitors.correct: Foreign visitors commonly complain that Americansspeak too rapidly. (Purdue) 6. Introductory Commas Skim your paper, looking only at the first word or two of each sentence. Stop if the word or phrase . . . ends in -ing is an infinitive (to + verb) is an introductory word (well, yes, moreover, etc.) Place a comma at the end of the introductory phrase. Examples: To get a good grade, you must turn in all your homework problems. Walking to work, Jim stopped for coffee at the diner. Yes, I agree that the exam was difficult. 7. Introductory Commas If the sentence begins with a prepositional phrase (a phrase beginning with in, at, on, between, with, etc.), place a comma after the prepositional phrase if it is longer than three words or suggests a distinct pause before the main clause. Examples: On his way to work, Jim stopped for coffee at the diner. In those days we wrote with a pen and paper. Across the street from the library, an old man waited for a bus. (Purdue) 8. Introductory Commas after Dependent Clauses Skim your paper, looking only at the first two or three words of each sentence. Stop if one of these words is a dependent marker such as while, because, when, if, after, when, etc. If necessary, place a comma at the end of the introductory dependent clause. Examples: While I was writing, the phone rang. Because the weather was bad, we decided tocancel our planned picnic. After the last guests left the party, we had tobegin cleaning the house. (Purdue) 9. Disruptive Commas If you dont need the comma then dont use it. Between subjects Between compound and verbsverbs or objects disruptive comma: disruptive comma:That man sitting in theThey bought twotrain station, is thepizzas, but ate onlyperson I'm meet. correct: They bought correct: That mantwo pizzas but atesitting in the trainonly one.station is the personI'm supposed to meet.(Purdue) 10. Run-on Sentences A RUN-ON SENTENCE (sometimes called a quot;fused sentencequot;) has at least two parts, either one of which can stand by itself (in other words, two independent clauses), but the two parts have been smooshed together instead of being properly connected. Example: Please be in your seat when the bell rings, as classbegins at that time. (ccc) 11. Run-on Sentences These are inappropriate ways to join sentences together because readers need a signal that one main clause is ending and another is beginning. If the correct signal is not present, a reader can become momentarily confused, and the sequence of ideas will become difficult to follow. In essence, the sentences will crash.(SCS) 12. Online Resources Hopefully this short presentation was helpful to you. However, there are millions of online resources to help you if further questions arise. A few of these are my references on the next slide. Here are a few just to save you time. 13. References The Writing Lab, The OWL at Purdue, & Purdue University. (2004). Proofreading for commas. Retrieved April 22, 2009, from Smith, Wisegeek. What is a comma splice? Retrieved April 22, 2009, from Guide To Grammar & Writing, Capital Community College Foundation. Run-on Sentences, Comma Splices. Retrieved April 22, 2009, from Literacy Education Online, St. Cloud State University. (2004). Avoiding Comma Splices, Fused Sentences, and Run-Ons. Retrieved April 22, 2009, from