1. Sentence Fragments:
a. No, no, no (
b. Even if you are trying to use a fragment for a particular effect – no
2. Comma Splices:
i. A comma separates two complete sentences
1. The boys left town, they took the money with them.
b. Ways to fix a comma splice (there are more ways; these are just the easiest and most common)
i. Use a comma and a conjunction (and, but, yet, for, so, nor, or) – There are only seven of them.
1. The boys left town, and they took the money with them.
ii. Use a semi-colon
1. The boys left town; they took the money ...view middle of the document...
There are many of these words (since, although, because, while, etc).
1. If the first independent clause is changed to a dependent clause then a comma goes between the clauses:
a. When the boys left town, they took the money with them.
2. If the second independent clause is changed to a dependent clause then NO comma between the clauses
a. The boys left town because they took the money with them.
a. Pronoun / antecedent agreement
i. The pronoun and its antecedent do not agree in number (antecedent = the word that the pronoun refers to).
1. Everybody takes their books home.
i. Everybody takes his or her books home.
ii. The students take their books home.
iii. Go plural to avoid awkward construction.
iv. Remember that if it is obvious that only one gender is being discussed then, of course, the he or she construction is not used (
4. Dangling Modifiers
a. The modifier (usually a phrase) doesn’t refer to the noun closest to it.
1. Dancing in the air, the field was filled with butterflies.
a. Problem: the field is not dancing.
i. Dancing in the air, the butterflies filled the field.
ii. The butterflies were dancing in the air in the field.
iii. The air above the field was filled with dancing butterflies.