WEEK 4 and our next discussion in our topic on the SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF WRITING is INCORRECT PUNCTUATION OF TWO INDEPENDENT CLAUSES. Personally, this is one of the more tricky elements of writing to master.
(REMEMBER: An independent clause has a subject and a verb and can stand alone as a sentence.)
Good writers know that correct punctuation is important to writing clear sentences. If you misuse a mark of punctuation, you risk confusing your reader and appearing careless. Notice how the placement of commas significantly affects the meaning of these sentences:
NO -- Mr. Jones, says Ms. Moore, is a boring old fool.
YES -- Mr. Jones says Ms. Moore is a boring old fool.
Writers often combine independent clauses in a single compound sentence to emphasize the relationship between ideas. The punctuation of compound sentences varies depending upon how you connect the clauses.
(a) Separate independent clauses with a comma when using a coordinating
conjunction (and, but, or, for, nor, so, yet).
(b) Separate independent clauses with a semi-colon when no coordinating
conjunction is used.
(c) Separate independent clauses with a semi-colon when using a conjunctive adverb
(e.g., however, therefore, thus, consequently, finally, nevertheless).
Examples of Correct Punctuation, Rule (a):
1. We all looked worse than usual, for we had stayed up studying for the exam.
2. This room is unbelievably hot, and I think that I am going to pass out.
3. Monday is a difficult day for me, so I try to prepare as much as possible on Sunday.
Examples of Correct Punctuation, Rule (b):
1. We all looked worse than usual; we had stayed up all night studying for the exam.
2. This room is unbelievably hot; I think I am going to pass out.
3. Monday is a difficult day for me; I have three classes and two other commitments.
Examples of Correct Punctuation, Rule (c):
1. We all looked worse than usual; however, we were relieved we had studied.
2. The discussion is really interesting; nevertheless, I think I am going to pass out.
3. Monday is a difficult day for me; however, I have figured out how to prepare for it.
(Courtesy of Hamilton College)
(Photo, courtesy of Yahoo Images)
Who I Am...
My name is Barbara Woster. I am an author, business owner, and an educator. Writing is my passion, but I also enjoy providing insight for aspiring authors. Additionally, I review work by other writers upon request. To have your book reviewed, simply get in touch.