Elim­i­nat­ing sen­tence er­rors

Jamaica Gleaner - - YL - MELISSA MCKEN­ZIE Con­trib­u­tor Melissa McKen­zie is an in­de­pen­dent con­trib­u­tor. Send ques­tions and com­ments to kerry-ann.hep­burn@glean­erjm.com

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.

EX­AM­PLE

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.

EX­AM­PLES

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.

COR­REC­TIONS

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.

EX­AM­PLES

1) Mark stayed up all night cram­ming for a statis­tics test, it didn’t cover what he had stud­ied.

COR­REC­TION

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.

AC­TIV­ITY #1

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.

AC­TIV­ITY #2

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.

VO­CAB­U­LARY TOP-UP

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.

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