Sentence Faults The Unholy Trinity The Center for Academic Excellence presents...
Grade School Definition of a Sentence A sentence is a group of words expressing a complete thought.
The English Sentence The typical sentence is composed of a subject, a verb, and an object. We often speak of subject-verb-object word order, which is represented SVO. Michael kicked the ball. SOV
Since some sentences dont, in fact, require an object, some grammarians prefer to say that the English sentence consists of a subject and a predicatea predicate being the verb and its object, or the verb and its modifiers: Subject|Predicate Michael | kicked the ball. Michael |slept. Michael |slept fitfully. Michael|almost never sleeps.
Writing Sentences (1)A sentence is a group of words which express a complete thought. Here are examples of simple sentences: Maria bought a kettle. Tara bought a fan. (2) Two complete thoughts linked by a conjunction are known as a compound sentence: Maria bought a kettle, but Tara bought a fan.
( 3) A complex sentence is a sentence with one independent clause and at least one dependent clause. I ate the meal that you cooked. I enjoyed the apple pie that you bought for me. I ate breakfast before I went to work.
The Concept The concept, then, is fairly straightforward: A simple sentence contains one complete thought. Compound sentences are made up of two or more complete thoughts linked by conjunctions. Complex sentences are made up of an independent and one or more dependent clauses.
Sentence Faults Many people fail to recognize errors in sentence structure. This failure creates serious problems in communication and leaves readers feeling confused, frustrated, and unwilling to read any further. Sentence faults are major errors and should never occur in college-level writing.
The Three Sentence Faults Sentence errors are of three kinds: 1.Fragments 2.Run-ons 3.Comma Splices These are variations of the same problem. If any of these errors occur in your writing, you must strive to eliminate them.
Fragment Sentences The fragment sentence is essentially an incomplete thought. Some element of the typical sentence is missingit is lacking a subject, or some vital part of its predicate. John and Michael and their friend Rory. She recently said. And then when the grass was almost knee-high. Perhaps we are to. The above sentences fail to express a complete thought and are therefore fragments, or pieces, of an intended whole.
Run-on Sentences Run-on sentences consist of several thoughts that merge into each other without the use of proper punctuation. They are sentences which would require commas, periods or semi-colons to function correctly. I went to Paris it was beautiful especially in the spring thats when we were there I want to go again next year the point is will I have the money. I got an A on my last exam I really dont know how since I didnt study for it at all I think maybe I was just lucky it was not a grade I actually deserved. The policeman pulled me over he said I was speeding. If I won the lottery Id buy my mother a house wouldnt you? The above sentences run several complete thoughts together and are confusing to a reader. Like the Energizer Bunny, they keep going and going and going. TM
Comma Splice Sentences The comma splice sentence is a variation of the run-on sentence. It consists of several complete thoughts linked together with commas where periods should be. I went to Paris, it was beautiful, especially in the spring, thats when we were there, I want to go again next year, the point is will I have the money. I got an A on my last exam, I really dont know how since I didnt study for it at all, I think maybe I was just lucky, it was not a grade I actually deserved. The policeman pulled me over, he said I was speeding. If I won the lottery, Id buy my mother a house, wouldnt you? The above sentences splice several complete thoughts together and are confusing to a reader.
Eliminate Sentence Faults Recognizing that sentence faults exist is a good first step towards eliminating them from your writing. During the Editing stage of the Writing Process, examine each sentence individually and ask yourself if you have written a complete thought. If there are several complete thoughts, they must be linked with conjunctions. If the thought is incomplete, then it must be completed. If you have trouble recognizing sentence faults, meet with your professor or consult a tutor. Sentence faults should not appear in essays presented for a grade.
The End PowerPoint Presentation by Mark A. Spalding, BA, MEd, MA, 2007 Painting by Magritte