Tag Archives: compound sentences

Compound Sentences with FANBOYS—Middle School Lesson Video

Video Compound Sentences with FANBOYS

 

There are hard ways to learn things. And there are easy ways to learn things. Teaching is in my blood. Love for students runs deep within me.

 

Those two things combined make me want to ALWAYS teach students the easy way to learn things.

 

Life is hard already. Let’s make grammar as easy as we possibly can. And for sure, let’s teach things that students actually need and use in real writing.

Continue reading

Comma Clues #1: Creating a Compound Sentence With a Comma-Coordinating Conjunction (,cc)

Comma Clues #1 Compound Sentence With Comma-Coordinating Conjunction

 

“Conjunction Junction—what’s your function?”

Did you start to sing along? Can you picture the images?

How old are you????? lol

Most kids today are not raised on “School House Rock,” which is such a shame! Because you really can’t forget the songs, jingles, rhymes—and dare I say—rules learned from those little ditties. (You can still find them on Youtube!)

And those little ditties are really needed when it comes to commas! Commas are a mystery to many people–and rightly so! They are extremely subjective at times across the board. And then, different handbooks and authorities stress different rules for them, making them even more elusive.

Continue reading

Compound Sentence Quiz!

Compound Sentence Quiz

Are you ready for your quiz? Can you create compound sentences with the sentence pairs given below?

 

Use either of the following:


1. A semicolon (with a complete sentence on the left and a complete sentence on the right)



2. A comma-coordinating conjunction between two complete sentences (,for/,and/,nor/,but/,or/,yet/,so—FANBOYS)

Continue reading

Q and A: Colons

“Sometimes I see colons used before quotes; other times I see them used before lists. Which is correct? How do I know when a colon is the right punctuation mark?”

Just taught this yesterday to a dozen kids preparing for the SAT–and I’ll be teaching it again tomorrow to a dozen more who are preparing for the SAT. I will tell you what I told them:

1. You want to learn how to use colons. That skill will make you look smart since so few people know how to use them properly!

2. You should always have a complete sentence on the left side of the colon:

a. This means that it CAN be used following a speech tag (before your quoted words) IF the speech tag is a complete sentence:

      i. Yes: HE SPOKE WORDS OF COMFORT: “You can get through this. You are strong. I know you can make it.” (Words on the left of the colon could stand alone; you could place a period there, and it would be a real, complete sentence.)

    ii. No: HE SAID: “You can get through this. You are strong. I know you can make it.”

b. This means that it CAN be used to introduce a list IF the introduction to the list is a complete sentence:

     i. Yes: I NEED SEVERAL THINGS FROM THE STORE: milk, bread, eggs, and bananas.

     ii. No: I NEED TO GET: milk, bread, eggs, and bananas.

c. This means that it CAN be used to ask a rhetorical question IF the words preceding the colon make up a complete sentence:

  i. Yes: WE LOOKED FOR HIM EVERYWHERE: suddenly he appeared!

  ii. No: WE LOOKED AND: suddenly he appeared!

3. A colon should NEVER follow two types+ of words:

a. An action verb used as an action verb. No: SHE WANTED US TO GIVE: money, time, and household goods.

b. A preposition used as a preposition: No: SHE ASKED US TO: come early, stay late, and work non-stop.

+When a sentence ends in an action verb or a preposition, that word usually makes the sentence into a non-sentence (i.e. you can’t put a period there and call it a real sentence): She asked us to.

4. Colon use is often subjective in technical writing, such as text books, blogs (!), and other places where they are used to teach or expound upon topics in list form, etc.

PUNCTUATION PUZZLE: The shepherd led them to the brook….

PUNCTUATION PUZZLE—plus a couple of other errors for you to find!

The shepherd lead them to the brook and they drank alot, because they were very, hot, and thirsty.


Here is the answer with an explanation for each aspectbelow: The shepherd led them to the brook, and they drank a lot because they were very hot and thirsty.

 LED vs LEAD: The shepherd LED them to the brook……

      1.  LEAD (pronounced ledd with as short e) is only pronounced ledd when it refers to a metal or pencil graphite.           2. Otherwise LEAD is pronounced leed (long e) and is the current tense of the verb lead (LEED).                                     3. LED is the past tense of the verb LEAD (pronounced LEED, with a long e).


CS ,cc CS–Do you remember these rules for compound sentences? 

1. CS stands for complete sentence; cc stands for coordinating conjunction. 

2. You can join one CS (complete sentence) with another CS by using a comma-cc (,For/ ,And/ ,Nor/ ,But/ ,Or/ ,Yet/ ,So). 

3. You may not combine two complete sentences into one with a cc only–you must put a comma before it: The shepherd led them to the brook, AND they drank….



 ALOT vs A LOT:  ALOT is not one word; it should be two words–A LOT—meaning a bunch or a large amount: The shepherd led them to the brook, and they drank a lot….


No comma before a subordinator at the end of a sentence unless it is a WHICH clause-

1. You do not need a comma before the BECAUSE. 

2. You do not hear a pause (like you would if it were a WHICH clause): The shepherd led them to the brook, and they drank a lot because they were very hot and thirsty.


No Comma Between an adverb and the adjective it describes—

1. Or more clearly put, no comma between a qualifier and a describer: VERY hot and thirsty (not VERY, hot, and thirsty).

2.  Very is an adverb telling how hot (an adverb describing an adjective or qualifying it). 

3. Tip for this: 

     a. If you can put an AND where you are trying to put the comma, then a comma is needed (in place of the and): they were muddy, hot, and thirsty (muddy AND hot AND thirsty). 

     b. If you cannot put an AND, do not put a comma: very AND hot—NO!). 

     c.  Also, do not use a comma when you have only two adjectives and you are placing an AND in between them–either use a comma (hot, thirsty) OR place an AND (hot and thirsty) but not both.

PUNCTUATION PUZZLE: Commas and Periods With Quotation Marks

Okay…here is another Punctuation Puzzle for you to solve! Try to figure out where punctuation marks should go–before you look below at the answers/explanations! Smile…

I read the magazine article titled “Baby Games” and I read an encyclopedia essay called “Baby Showers”

Okay….are you ready?

Proper punctuation of that sentence is as follows:

I read the magazine article titled “Baby Games,” and I read an encyclopedia essay called “Baby Showers.”



Here is why the punctuation is the way it is:

1. “Baby Games” is the title of a magazine article; an article is a minor work (a work within a work–in this case, an article within a magazine). Minor works are shown by surrounding the title in quotation marks.

                           I read the magazine article titled “Baby Games,”



2. You need a comma before the AND because this sentence is a compound sentence (Complete Sentence {CS}, and Complete Sentence {CS}). One way you can combine two sentences into one to create a compound sentence is to use a comma-coordinating conjunction (,cc–,for/,and/,nor/,but/,or/,yet/,so). Always test to see if you are really creating a compound by reading each “half” of the sentence by itself–and ask yourself if it could stand alone.

                          I read the article titled “Baby Games,” and I read an encyclopedia essay called “Baby Showers.”

3.  In the US, a comma ALWAYS goes inside a closing quotation mark (whether it is part of the quoted material or not). (This is not the case in British writings.)

                         “Baby Games,”



4. “Baby Showers” is the title of an encyclopedia essay; an essay is a minor work (a work within a work–in this case, an essay within an encyclopedia). Minor works are shown by surrounding the title in quotation marks.

                    “Baby Showers.”




5.  In the US, a period ALWAYS goes inside a closing quotation mark (whether it is part of the quoted material or not). (This is not the case in British writings.)

                      “Baby Showers.”

*Picture from http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/x/jigsaw-puzzle-punctuation-marks-28310853.jpg

Can I Start a Sentence With a Coordinating Conjunction?

We had an interesting conversation in my high school creative writing class this week. One of the students started a sentence with and, and, of course, the more grammarly types thought that he should not.

Being the kind of teacher who does not like to let any potential lesson pass, I delved in. That is what I would like to “teach” here today–but first let’s go back to those earlier lessons on compound sentences and comma use–and, of course, what a coordinating conjunction is to begin with.

You might remember a recent post (one of my PUNCTUATION PUZZLES, actually) in which I discussed how to create a compound sentence using a semicolon. (Remember, compound has to do with TWO, just like a compound fracture is a break in two places. Thus, a compound sentence is two sentences joined together as one.)

It can be found here (http://languagelady365.blogspot.com/2013/02/punctuation-puzzle-compound-with.html ). In a nutshell, it tells how a compound sentence may be created by combining two complete sentences (CS) into one sentence with a semicolon between the two.

Of course, the two sentences you are combining must be linked to each other in subject matter in order to do this; each half the compound should be somewhat similar in weightiness as well. This compound-creating helps a writer to link common thoughts and show their link without any additional words.

Then I also had another post about creating a compound sentence with a comma-coordinating conjunction  (http://languagelady365.blogspot.com/2013/01/comma-clues-1-creating-compound.html ). In this post, I described how you can combine two sentences into one with the same guidelines for the semicolon compound sentence–but with the added benefit of meaning via the coordinating conjuction.

I also taught this little trick: FANBOYS. This is a quick method to learn the seven true coordinating conjunctions:

F or
A nd
N or
B ut
O r
Y et
S o

Again, the beauty of the compound sentence with the coordinating conjunction (as opposed to the semicolon, which is good for showing off!) is that each of those seven little words has the potential to bring a meaning, a relationship, a link, a causality, and more. 

So, what if you (or your student) wants to START a sentence with one of those little meaningful, relational, linking, causal words?

Learn how to do it well! Or teach your student how to do it well!

According to R.W. Burchfield in The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage, it is completely legal: “There is a persistent belief that it is improper to begin a sentence with And, but this prohibition has been cheerfully ignored by standard authors from Anglo-Saxon times onwards. An initial And is a useful aid to writers as the narrative continues”

Of course, if you are a lover of great literature as some of my kids are, you can find time after time when a noted author began narrative, as well as poetry, with a coordinating conjunction. And, obviously, most of the time he or she did it well!

When and how would one begin a sentence with a coordinating conjunction?

1. When the material following the coordinating conjunction is LINKED to the previous sentence (much like creating the compound sentence)

2. When the meaning of the coordinating conjunction is valuable to the sentence:

a. And–linking, additionally, and even sometimes because of: She was going to be late. AND she didn’t care.

b. Or–linking, contrasting, giving another option: You can have the cake. OR you can have the ice cream.

c. But–constrasting, showing causality or exception: You may have cake or ice cream. BUT you may not have them both.

3. When the coordinating conjunctions and, but, or, & yet are used.

a. These are the four that work the best at the beginning of a sentence.
b. For is usually a preposition when it is at the beginning of a sentence. (More on that later.)
c. Sometimes so will work, but it might be a little stilted.
d. Nor doesn’t work at all.

4. When you want a stop after the first sentence–a beat, if you will. Then you want the second sentence to have more power than the first–and the contrast or causality to be greater.

I’m a teacher through and through. I go to sleep thinking about teaching and writing–and I get up thinking about teaching and writing. So…..I woke up this morning with a mnemonic to use with my students for this sentence structure. (I am mnemonic, rhyme, and jingle crazy in my textbooks!)

“When you start a sentence with a coordinating conjunction,
Be sure it’s strong–be sure it has a function!”

I was thrilled that my creative writing students are thinking so deeply about sentences. Creative writing, story writing, poetry, narratives–all of these are writing areas in which thinking deeply about sentence structure really pays off. And beginning a sentence with a coordinating conjunction is a way to really add punch and emphasis to a creative writing piece. Smile… 

Punctuation Puzzle: Compound With Semicolon (GWC)

Are you ready for another Punctuation Puzzle?

George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life because of this he became successful in everything he did.


1. There are two complete sentences (CS) here:
            a. George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life.
            b. Because of this he became successful in everything he did.

2. Because there are two complete sentences (CS) there, I would place a semicolon between the two (though you could put a period and capitalize the second half and have two separate sentences, if desired).

         George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life; because of this he became successful in everything he did.


3. When you have a compound sentence, you have to treat each sentence separately in terms of its punctuation. Thus, you need to examine the first half of the sentence (the first “real” sentence of the compound sentence) to see if it needs any other punctuation. Then you must do the same with the second half.
              a. George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life. (NO punctuation needed within first half)
              b. Because of this,  he became successful in everything he did.(I WOULD place a comma following the short prepositional phrase [PP] opener “Because of this” simply because I hear a pause following it. {The rules for commas following short PP openers are subjective and usually based on voice inflection or clarity achieved by the use of a comma. We teach liberal comma use following sentence openers in our programs.})


4. Thus, my final verdict on punctuating this compound and slightly complex sentence is as follows:

 George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life; because of this, he became successful in everything he did.


Punctuation really is a puzzle, isn’t it? Smile…


Little addendum to yesterday’s PUNCTUATION PUZZLE:

George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life; because of this, he became successful in everything he did.

1. One of the only uses for semicolons is to create a compound sentence (without having to use a coordinating conjunction For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So–FANBOYS–since these words may give additional meaning).

2. Benchmark for creating compound—are the two halves of the sentence extremely linked? In the case above, they are so intertwined that they actually form a cause and effect of sorts. Closely linked sentences are good candidates for creating compound sentences.

Have a prolific day, Language Lady friends!