Journalism Education Association

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Quick Hits These examples may not cover EVERY use of apunctuation mark or ALL the rules for usage situations but this slide presentation and the related exercisesshow common mistakes everyone makes and how to.
Here are the 10 common errorswe will be covering here Section 1 Sentence structure and punctuationSection 2 Punctuating quotesSection 3 Miscellaneous comma rules.
Section 4 ApostrophesSection 5 Semicolons and colonsSection 6 Dashes and hyphensSection 7 Subject verb agreementSection 8 Pronoun antecedent agreement.
Section 9 Misplaced modifiersSection 10 Passive voice Section 1 Sentence structure andpunctuationThe football squad will ride the team bus .
Drum major and marching band memberswill ride the team bus Band members will ride one bus and thefootball squad will ride another bus The first sentence has one subject one verb The second.
sentence has a compound subject and one verb The thirdsentence has one subject and one verb then a conjunction andanother sentence and verb Because it s a compound sentence itneeds a comma before the coordinating conjunction and or but Section 1 Sentence structure and.
punctuationThe Homecoming parade begins at 2 p m Cars and floats will leave from the flagpoleand march down Main Street All parade participants march to the.
stadium and have a pep rally there The first sentence has one subject one verb The secondsentence has a compound subject and one verb no commas The third sentence has one subject and two verbs with aconjunction in between It does not need a comma before the.
coordinating conjunction and or but because it is only acompound verb Section 1 Sentence structure andpunctuationWhen the parade begins other traffic will stop.
on Main Street With traffic stopped marchers should be safe Other traffic will stop on Main Street when theparade begins The first part of the first sentence has a subject and a verb but can t.
stand by itself because it s a subordinate clause starting with when Itneeds a comma before the main clause to be a complete sentence The second sentence needs a comma because it starts with a phrase The third sentence has the dependent clause AFTER the main clause so it doesn t need a comma .
Section 1 Sentence structure andpunctuationWhen she tried out for the play the senior sangIn her excitement she forgot some of the Introductory clauses and phrases especially if they are long need to.
be set off with a comma However if the same subordinate clause is at the END of the sentence don t use a comma before it The senior sang an aria when she tried out for Section 2 Punctuating quotes.
We plan to close off all of Main Street forthe Homecoming parade he said When the band starts marching thesuperintendent said floats will fall in linebehind .
The attribution is in the middle of the sentence Science teacher Kathleen Wing said Ninthgraders will read An Inconvenient Truth beginning in 2018 Section 2 Punctuating quotes.
Which faculty members will chaperone thedance the principal asked The director announced this year s musicalwill be the best of the best March 3 is the deadline for finishing The.
Odyssey Who has finished reading The Odyssey I subscribe to the digital New York Times Section 3 Miscellaneous comma rulesThe science teacher who travels to South.
America each summer to study sharesmuch of what she learns with her students The first sentence has a nonrestrictive nonessential clause in it That part could be removed and the sentence would mean thesame thing Therefore it s set off by commas .
The math teacher whose students scorehighest on the state test will win a Big Macfrom his colleagues This sentence has a restrictive essential clause in it That partcannot be removed it s necessary for the meaning and is NOT.
set off by commas Section 3 Miscellaneous comma rulesThe play has parts for seven females fivemales and assorted children in the chorus The Oxford comma also known as a serial comma is not used in.
journalistic writing For a series connected with a coordinatingconjunction and or but nor only use a comma before theconjunction if the meaning would be unclear without it It was an emotional dramatic ending to theplay but the audience was ready for classic.
Shakespearean tragedy Put a comma between two modifiers of equal rank TIP If you canput these adjectives in either order or put an and between them they need a comma Note why we need a comma in the first partof the sentence but not the second .
Section 3 Miscellaneous comma rulesThe varsity softball team made up entirelyof sophomores is heading to the statetournament A parenthetical expression is an addition to the main sentence .
just an extra aside and is set off by commas Mrs Rutherford my favorite English teacher plans to retire next month English teacher Susan Rutherford plans toretire next month .
An appositive is set off with commas but often in journalisticwriting a short identifier before the proper noun is better and Section 4 ApostrophesThe apostrophe s job in a sentenceshouldn t be hard to explain It s two fold .
The first use is making a noun possessive The second and thirdare contractions indicating one or more letters are missing should not o and it is i Some often confused apostropheHe belongs to a 60s rock n roll band The 19 is missing in 1960s and so are the a and d in band .
The children s party is set for Saturday Children is already plural Only add s same with men s etc The Whites are going on vacation The family doesn t own the vacation and no letter is left out Rogueapostrophes also appear on signs Vegetable s for sale and.
Frank s Flower s Only correct if Frank possesses something Section 4 ApostrophesThe first class s response was predictable but the second class success was not Make a singular common noun that ends in s possessive by.
simply adding s UNLESS the next word starts with an s Thenyou only use an apostrophe Nichols intent was to support the team For singular proper nouns that end in s add the apostrophe onlyJeff and Richard s locker is near the front.
Both students own the locker Jeff s and Richard s papers both received Section 5 Semicolons and colonsThe actress agreed to come back next weekto speak to the drama class her suggestions.
for the play were fascinating Semicolons seem somewhat formal and make the sentence morecomplicated so they aren t used as often in journalistic writing The two main clauses are closely related but you can t connectthem with only a comma That would be a comma splice run on .
so a semicolon works but two separate sentences might be You also have to be sure there s a complete sentence on bothsides of a semicolon Otherwise you have a fragment Section 5 Semicolons and colonsThose injured in the accident included Kylie.
Proctor 16 junior Justin Proctor 14 freshman Jon Smythe 17 senior andAustin Webb 17 senior Semicolons also can help organize a sentence that has severalinternal commas such as a list of victims .
Section 5 Semicolons and colonsWe were asked to bring art supplies paint brushes rulers poster board We knew what the team needed a hitter We knew what the team needed A hitter is.
the only thing that could save the season Colons serve two functions To signal a list or to set up an a HAword or statement The list may be preceded by the word thefollowing The a HA can be a word or fragment and then is not capitalized or.
it can be a complete sentence and then it DOES start with a Section 6 Dashes and hyphensFor the late night work session the editorbrought pizza popcorn Twizzlers andhandcuffs in case someone decided to leave.
Think of it this way Dashes separate items and hyphens whichare a little shorter glue them together This dash creates a dramatic pause so readers will notice thesurprise ending It wouldn t be necessary if the last thing shebrought was five 2 liter bottles of Diet Coke .
Section 6 Dashes and hyphensWhen the biology teacher opened the labdoor much to the amazement of thestartled freshmen a huge parrot was sittingon his desk .
If you want to emphasize a longer clause or phrase dashes canwork to set it off Otherwise using commas like you would with anappositive doesn t have the impact Section 6 Dashes and hyphensHyphens glue words together .
The late night work session turned intomore fun than work It s not a late work session and a night work session Connectthe two words with a hyphen to essentially make one adjective Her choice was last minute and that upset.
This is also an adjective that needs to be connected Now last minute modifies choice not the case in the following where thewords act as an adverb telling WHEN she decided She decided to join us at the very last Section 6 Dashes and hyphens.
Why do some of these constructions needhyphens and others don t The 14 year old told her parents she wasold enough to attend the concert Her 5 year old sister helped them make.
He will be 18 years old on his next birthday The first one has to be glued together to form a noun and thesecond to form an adjective But the final sentence doesn t needthe hyphens Section 6 Dashes and hyphens.
Hyphens may glue words together butthere is one major exception His calmly stated announcement still left usall confused When the compound modifier has ly at the end don t use a.
Section 7 Subject verb agreementSome subjects always take plural verbs Two students and four teachers attend theconference about science fairs each year The media are covering every aspect of the.
A number of examples are available in the Section 7 Subject verb agreementSome subjects always take singular verbs The number of students cheering in thestands makes a difference to the team .
Six class periods in a row is tiring forteachers and students The National Council of Teachers of Englishholds a convention each fall Section 7 Subject verb agreement.
Some pronouns always take singular verbs Each of these textbooks costs more than The pronouns EACH EITHER ANYONE EVERYONE MUCH ONE NO ONE NOTHING and SOMEONE all take singular verbs Also the subject can t be part of a prepositional or participial.
phrase so in this sentence textbooks isn t the subject Everyone in English classes get gets an A onNothing she ever studies prepare preparesher for the difficult internship Section 7 Subject verb agreement.
Here are some hard to find subjects Inside the two boxes is the answer to the riddle The subject can t be an object of a preposition Thus it s not boxes inside the boxes The subject is answer So the verb must be IS There are going to be students in blue and gold representing.
the school The subject can t be the expletive there or here blah words to avoid Students are going Section 7 Subject verb agreementHere are some other elusive subjects .
The most hotly contested race is the two seniorsrunning for president The subject also not the predicate noun nominative though that usuallyagrees with the subject but if it doesn t The cause of the drought is several weeks of no rain .
You wouldn t say the cause are weeks Their biggest worry today is tests to be given next week The subject is worry and not tests Section 7 Subject verb agreementWinning the next three games is are the.
coach s dream This construction is tricky too What IS the subject Is it games No games aren t his dream Winning is his dream In other words a gerund or gerund phrase is used as a noun and in this case it s the subject of the sentence .
Gerunds are always singular Think of it this way The act of winning the next three games is the coach s dream That s asingular concept Competing in the Olympics isn t aren t out ofthe question for the young track star .
Packing all her clothes take takes her longerthan she planned Section 8 Pronoun antecedent agreementA noun is the name of a person place orA pronoun takes the place of a noun .
An antecedent is the noun whose place it sSenior Kathy Krantz was namedHomecoming queen She was quitesurprised to win this title This is pretty easy Kathy is only one person so you need the.
A partial quotes like the second sentence can sound choppy, though sometimes they work. However, no comma is necessary before you begin a partial quote. Titles of books, movies and plays, poems, songs and television shows are in quotes -- but newspapers, magazines, reference works and books of the Bible do not.

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