Eliminating sentence errors
STUDENTS, THIS week, we will focus some more on sentences. In particular, we will focus on common sentence errors that are seen in students’ writing. Being able to spot and identify these errors is important, as it will improve your performance on the expression component of your assessment. Ultimately, how you express your ideas is important and should not be taken lightly. Before I start focusing on these specific errors, note the answers to last week’s activity. 1. simple 2. compound 3. complex 4. complex 5. compound complex 6. compound 7. simple 8. complex 9. compound complex 10. complex 11. complex 12. complex 13. complex 14. compound 15. simple I hope you got them all correct. Now, let’s examine some common sentence errors. Consider the paragraph below.
After my mother left the house. We were so happy to be alone. It was not often that we had freedom we planned to make the most of it. Once my sister was certain my mother was really gone. She called her boyfriend. I decided that I was going to accompany my friend, Sheila, to the river, this would turn out to be the worst day of my life.
As you read, you will notice that several mistakes are present. For example, there is an error in the following: After my mother left the house. We were so happy to be alone. There should be no full stop between ‘house’ and ‘we’ because ‘after my mother left the house’ is not a complete sentence; it is a dependent clause. The error that has occurred is a sentence fragment. Correctly written, it would have read: After my mother left the house, we were so happy to be alone. A comma is placed after the dependent clause. Note the corrected paragraph below.
After my mother left the house, we were so happy to be alone. It was not often that we had freedom, so we planned to make the most of it. Once my sister was certain my mother was really gone, she called her boyfriend. I decided that I was going to accompany my friend, Sheila, to the river, but this would turn out to be the worst day of my life.
TYPES OF SENTENCE ERRORS
Sentence fragment – This is an incomplete sentence because it is only part of an idea and it is not complete by itself. It is usually a dependent clause.
Incorrect: When she grows up. She wants to be a doctor. Correct: When she grows up, she wants to be a doctor.
Run-on/Fused sentence – This is a sentence that contains two or more independent clauses without any mark of punctuation to separate them.
1) Yvette spent the whole day registering for classes she did not even have time for lunch. 2) Everybody looks forward to the weekend it is a time for relaxation.
1) Yvette spent the whole day registering for classes so she did not have time for lunch. 2) Everybody looks forward to the weekend because it is a time for relaxation.
Comma splice – This error occurs when one sentence contains two or more independent clauses, and they are incorrectly separated by a comma.
1) Mark stayed up all night cramming for a statistics test, it didn’t cover what he had studied.
Mark stayed up all night cramming for a statistics test, but it didn’t cover what he had studied.
2) Jessica will have to go the doctor, she will not get better. CORRECTION Jessica will have to go to the doctor or she will not get better.
Non-parallel structure – Parallelism concerns the balance of a sentence, or the similarity of words, phrases or clauses in a list or series within a sentence. When two or more parts of a sentence are doing the same thing, they must have matching structures or parallel structures. Look at the examples below. Incorrect: She doesn’t like ironing clothes, mopping the floor or to dust the furniture. Correct: She doesn’t like ironing clothes, mopping the floor, or dusting the furniture.
Incorrect: He doesn’t like washing clothes or housework.
Correct: She doesn’t like washing clothes or doing housework.
Incorrect: Jamie loves to ride her bike, swimming, and to dance.
Correct: Jamie loves to ride her bike, to swim, and to dance.
As you go through these errors, consider if you are guilty of making any of them. If you are, be more mindful of how you put your ideas on paper. Also, proofread your work.
Instruction: Rewrite each sentence below correctly by using the correct punctuation mark, conjunction or parallel structure.
1. My mother cooked dinner, my father watched the television. 2.Tiffany will have to pay the fine she will be arrested. 3. After he saw his mother at the airport. He screamed happily.
4. Tourists love to swim, sunbathe and going on tours.
5. His father felt so ashamed. To hear about his misbehaviour at school.
6. The moment he entered the room. He knew that something was wrong.
7. Pastor Bent’s sermon was very powerful, it caused many people to repent.
8. That restaurant sells very delicious food it is too expensive.
9. Vybz Kartel had to be hospitalized he was having kidney problems.
10. His wife promised him honesty, respect and to be romantic.
11. The passenger the driver to turn down the music, she could answer the phone.
12. The police will close down your party. If you do not get a permit.
Instruction: Rewrite the paragraph below correctly by avoiding the sentence errors.
Fabian wanted to join the football he went to the coach and asked him what he needed to do. The coach explained to him that discipline was the most important of a team, he told him that talent and dedication were next. After the coach told him all the things that were required. Fabian smiled broadly because he knew he had them all. He assured the coach that he was ideal for the team, the coach invited him to a training session. Fabian felt so great he could not wait to go home and tell his father. His father was a huge football fan and he had a dream his son could be the next Neymar. Fabian rushed home he could not wait to tell his father the exciting news.
Work through the activities with your peers and seek feedback from your teachers. I will share my answers to a few of them in the next lesson. Until then, take care.
Hallmark – Something that is typical of a particular person or thing Horrendous – Very unpleasant and shocking. Hypothetical – Based on assumption rather than fact or reality.