Sunday, February 24, 2013

More on Commas

Here's an interesting rule for this week and one easily forgotten - even by me!
When your sentence has a statement AND a question, separate the two with a comma.
Examples:
You attend one of my English classes, don't you?
You can certainly can bake chocolate chip cookies, can't you?
That is a terrier mix, not a poodle.
She associates herself with the elite, not the middle class.
Until next week.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Comma and Adjective

I found another interesting rule concerning commas. I'm most attracted to those we tend to forget about - so I'm hoping this helps rekindle those memories out there.

1. Insert a comma between two adjectives if the word and can be inserted in between them. If not, do not use a comma.

Some examples:
1. She is a beautiful, bright woman.
2. The plot was stunning for its vast expanse, tall trees.
3. They had reservations at a less expensive winter retreat.
4. The couple who walked into the foyer each wore white tailored clothing.
There are so many more comma rules. We'll get through them one by one. Until next time.




Monday, February 11, 2013

The Semicolon

I like the semicolon. Unfortunately, you don't see it used to much today. Those unfamiliar with the rules for its use, simply rephrase their sentences, and end up with the same type of sentence over and over again. Ideally, you should strive for variety in your sentence structure, and punctuation can help you do that. 
Last week, we talked about sentences using a comma between two independent clauses joined by a conjunction. This week, I'd like you to look at sentences that omit a conjunction and use a semicolon instead.

1) He walked through the doorway; she was waiting for him across the room.

2) Call me in the morning; I'll give you my decision then.

In the weeks ahead, we'll return to more opportunities for semicolons.
Until next time.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Comma

Where to begin! One of the most confusing grammar rules involves commas. Maybe because there's just so many rules to follow. Let's begin today with commas and coordinating conjunctions.
First, let's identify coordinating conjunctions: and, but, or, nor, for, while.
Second, when do we use a comma?
Here's a simple rule and an easy one to remember: if there is a subject on the other side of the coordinating conjunction, creating an independent clause, you need a comma. If no subject is present do not insert a comma.


Examples:
The coordinating conjunction is in italics and the subject is underlined.

1) Susan wanted to take that flight to Ontario, but she had too many projects at work.
2) She enjoys tennis, while her husband prefers golf.
3) Mattie wanted to go to the party but decided against it.

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