Common sentence errors
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Common Sentence Errors. Comma Splice. Comma splices entail the incorrect use of a comma t o join two (or more) independent clauses together in a single sentence. Correct the error (Comma splice). Replace the comma with a semicolon ;

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Common Sentence Errors

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Common sentence errors

Common Sentence Errors


Comma splice

Comma Splice

  • Comma splices entail the incorrect use of a comma to join two (or more) independent clauses together in a single sentence.


Correct the error comma splice

Correct the error (Comma splice)

  • Replace the comma with a semicolon;

    Incorrect: We have hundreds of pages of reading to do, it will be impossible to finish it all before the exam. 

    Correct: We have hundreds of pages of reading to do; it will be impossible to finish it all before the exam


Correct the error comma splice1

Correct the error (Comma splice)

  • Divide the comma-spliced sentence into smaller sentences, replacing the erroneous comma with appropriate ending punctuation;

    Incorrect: She wished she had some ice cream and because it was raining, she asked her roommate to drive her to the store, but she refused. 

    Correct: She wished she had some ice cream. Because it was raining, she asked her roommate to drive her to the store, but she refused.


Correct the error comma splice2

Correct the error (Comma splice)

  • Insert a coordinating conjunction after the comma. In case you don't know what a coordinating conjunction is, here's a list: and, but, so, or, nor, for, yet. 

    Incorrect: I tried to clean the house, I gave up and watched soap operas instead. 

    Correct: I tried to clean the house, but I gave up and watched soap operas instead.

    Incorrect: I repaired all the structural errors in my paper, then I turned it in. 

    Correct: I repaired all the structural errors in my paper, and then I turned it in. 

    Correct: I repaired all the structural errors in my paper. Then I turned it in.


Correct the error comma splice3

Correct the error (Comma splice)

  • Instead of a using a comma alone to separate the independent clauses, rearrange the sentence into the following format: INDEPENDENT CLAUSE; CONJUNCTIVE ADVERB, INDEPENDENT CLAUSE.

    Incorrect: They wanted to start a band, none of them knew how to sing. 

    Correct: They wanted to start a band; however, none of them knew how to sing. 

    Incorrect: Semicolons are my favorite kind of punctuation, they work especially well with conjunctive adverbs. 

    Correct: Semicolons are my favorite kind of punctuation; moreover, they work especially well with conjunctive adverbs.


Sentence fragments

Sentence Fragments

  • A sentence fragment is a group of words looking likea complete sentence. Sentence fragments, as incomplete sentences, can confuse your reader or make your meaning unclear. There is an easy way to test for sentence completeness. Ask the following sentences as you are writing:


Sentence fragments1

Sentence Fragments

  • Is there a verb (action word)?

  • Is there a subject?

  • If the phrase starts with a subordinating word (like "because" or "since"), does it also include an independent clause to complete the thought?

  • If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you've got yourself a sentence fragment.


Correct sentence fragments

Correct sentence fragments

  • Expand the fragments into sentences, supplying the missing elements like subjects, verbs, and clauses. 

    Incorrect: Confusing and distracting to readers. 

    Correct: Sentence fragments are confusing and distracting to readers. 

    Incorrect: Because they are confusing and distracting to readers. 

    Correct: Because they are confusing and distracting to readers, writers should generally avoid sentence fragments.


Correct sentence fragments1

Correct sentence fragments

  • Incorporate the fragment into a nearby sentence. 

    Incorrect: The dog was waiting in the window when his owner got home. Then, excited, wagging his tail. He went to greet her at the door. 

    Correct: The dog was waiting in the window when his owner got home. Excited, he wagged his tail and went to greet her at the door.


Correct sentence fragments2

Correct sentence fragments

  • Add more information to fix the fragment.

    Incorrect: Because I care.

    Correct: Because I care, I decided to donate money.


Correct sentence fragments3

Correct sentence fragments

  • Add a subject to the fragment.

    Incorrect: Wanted to get to work on time.

    Correct: Frank wanted to get to work on time.


Non parallel sentences

Non-parallel sentences

  • Parallel sentence structure is about balancing your sentences. The words "and," "but" and "or" are conjunctions, used to join ideas and comparisons in sentences. The ideas and comparisons on each side of these words should be balanced out in order to be considered parallel. If they are not balanced out then they are nonparallel sentences.


Correct non parallel sentences

Correct Non-parallel sentences

  • Use the same form of comparison words within a sentence.

    Incorrect: He likes playing and to run at recess.

    Correct: He likes playing and running at recess.

    Incorrect: Her details of the events were recounted correct and clearly.

    Correct: Her details of the events were recounted correctly and clearly


Correct non parallel sentences1

Correct Non-parallel sentences

  • Keep nouns, adjectives and verbs constant in a descriptive list; don't mix them. 

    Incorrect: He was full of greed and ignorant.

    Correct: He was full of greed and ignorance

    Correct: He was greedy and ignorant.


Correct non parallel sentences2

Correct Non-parallel sentences

  • Make sure the verb usage is balanced out. If you use a verb with one word, use a verb with all of the words on each side of your "and," "but" and "or.“

    Incorrect: Newborns frequently cry and are restless at night.

    Correct: Newborns frequently cry and restless at night.


Correct non parallel sentences3

Correct Non-parallel sentences

  • Place your connecting words so that they come before both of the ideas that you are connecting.

    Incorrect: She was not only the best person on our team, but a good friend too.

    Correct: She not only was the best person on our team, but a good friend too.


Run on sentence

Run-on sentence

  • A run-on sentence is a sentence in which several main clauses are strung together without proper punctuation and so run together as if they were one sentence. Run-on sentences make your reader's job difficult; they interrupt the rhythm of your writing and condense too much information into a small space. 


Correct run on sentences

Correct Run-on sentences

  • Separate the independent clauses into two sentences. 

    Incorrect: They gossiped about many things at lunchthey always have the most to say about their coworkers.

    Correct: They gossiped about many things at lunch. They always have the most to say about their coworkers.


Correct run on sentences1

Correct Run-on sentences

  • If the ideas expressed in the clauses are connected, they can be joined with a semi-colon.

    Incorrect: They gossiped about many things at lunchthey always have the most to say about their coworkers.

    Correct: They gossiped about many things at lunch; they always have the most to say about their coworkers.


Correct run on sentences2

Correct Run-on sentences

  • Subordinate one of the clauses. That is, first employ a word or phrase as a subordinator like although, while, because, and whereas. Then, add commas where needed, and go from there. 

    Incorrect: They gossiped about many things at lunchthey always have the most to say about their coworkers.

    Correct: Although they gossiped about many things at lunch, they always have the most to say about their coworkers.


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