SHARON’S BLOG

commasOkay, so the title of today’s article isn’t the most exciting. In fact, you might find it downright boringor intimidating.

I’ve been known to zone out when my husband tries to explain football lingo and rules to me. My eyes glaze over. My ears stop working. The same might be true for your students and the subject of commas.

You can use the infographic below to teach students when to use commas in a compound sentence that is joined by a coordinating conjunction. After the infographic, you’ll find a free, downloadable exercise to give your students to reinforce the material they’ve just learned. The answers follow the exercise below and are included in the free download.

A compound sentence has two independent clauses, an independent clause being a subject and verb (or subject and predicate) that can stand alone. The infographic will show you what coordinating conjunctions are and where the comma goes in a sentence of this sort. It will also explain the exceptions. (You knew there would be a few.)

Here are some examples of important terms and ideas:

An independent clause: Jesse hates to do homework.

A dependent clause, one that cannot stand alone: Which is not good.

A sentence with a coordinating conjunction (“and”) that joins two verbs (“brushes” and “rides”), not two independent clauses: Marla brushes her horse’s sleek coat and rides him every day.

A compound sentence with a coordinating conjunction (“for”): Marla brushes her horse’s sleek coat, for she rides him every day.

A sentence with a subordinating conjunction (in this case, “because”)—which does not get a comma: Marla brushes her horse’s sleek coat because she rides him every day.

Here’s the infographic and then the questions to reinforce this information with your students. Click here for a PDF of the infographic.Use this lesson and infographic for those dreaded commas. The sentences following will reinforce the material for your students. Answers included!

Comma Exercise

To download a free copy of this exercise, follow this link. >>

Directions: In numbers 1-7, write the coordinating conjunctions.  In numbers 8-20, read each sentence carefully and find the conjunction. If it is a true compound sentence with a coordinating conjunction, place the comma correctly. If it is not a compound sentence, leave the comma out.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8. I love to play the tuba and will enter the Oompah Contest next week.

9. Seymour fed the dogs but he forgot to tell his mom.

10. Doctors study ethics for they make many life-and-death decisions every day.

11. Jason doesn’t know if he will write a letter of complaint to the NFL about the godaddy.com commercials or e-mail a short note.

12. He fixed a peanut butter sandwich for me so I wouldn’t faint during my comma quiz.

13. The costume designer shopped all day yet did not find the right material for Anna’s and Elsa’s dresses.

14. Jeremy loves to read The Three Musketeers but he refuses to watch the movies.

15. Johnny Depp bought a private island for his family in 2004 because he wanted them to have a safe haven.

16. I quit gardening for I couldn’t stand the worms and fat grubs.

17. I quit gardening because I couldn’t stand the worms and fat grubs.

18. The soles on my new sneakers are flapping so I bought a new pair.

19. Write your essay this week and hand it in by Friday.

20. Castaway uses no music while the main character Chuck Noland is deserted on the island and I didn’t even notice!

 

ANSWERS:

1. But

2. Or

3. Yet

4. For

5. And

6. Nor

7. So

8. I love to play the tuba and will enter the Oompah Contest next week. No comma needed. “And” is joining two verbs (“play” and “will enter”).

9. Seymour fed the dogs, but he forgot to tell his mom.

10. Doctors study ethics, for they make many life-and-death decisions every day.

11. Jason doesn’t know if he will write a letter of complaint to the NFL about the godaddy.com commercials or e-mail a short note. No comma needed. “Or” is joining two predicates (“will write” and “e-mail”).

12. He fixed a peanut butter sandwich for me so I wouldn’t faint during my comma quiz. No comma needed. A silent “that” can be added after “so.”

13. The costume designer shopped all day yet did not find the right material for Anna’s and Elsa’s dresses. No comma needed. “Yet” is joining two predicates (“shopped” and “did not find”).

14. Jeremy loves to read The Three Musketeers, but he refuses to watch the movies.

15. Johnny Depp bought a private island for his family in 2004 because he wanted them to have a safe haven. No comma needed. “Because” is not a coordinating conjunction; it is a subordinating conjunction.

16. I quit gardening, for I couldn’t stand the worms and fat grubs.

17. I quit gardening because I couldn’t stand the worms and fat grubs. No comma needed. “Because” is not a coordinating conjunction.

18. The soles on my new sneakers are flapping, so I bought a new pair.

19. Write your essay this week and hand it in by Friday. No comma needed. In this imperative sentence, the coordinating conjunction “and” is joining two verbs (“write” and “hand”).

20. Castaway uses no music while the main character Chuck Noland is deserted on the island, and I didn’t even notice!

*****

Would you like more grammar tutorials? Check these out:

How to use commas in compound sentences with coordinating conjunctions
How to punctuate dialog with Tarzan
How to use quotation marks and punctuation
How to use question marks and exclamation points with quotation marks
How to use gender-neutral writing
“Everyone” is singular
Indefinite pronouns and verbs The link to the tutorial is in the introduction.
Sorting out confusing words like “its” and “it’s”
23 fun grammar lessons in the eBook Let’s Eat Fifi

Yours for a more vibrant writing class,

Sharon Watson

 

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Copyright © 2014 by Sharon Watson
Original image courtesy of graphic stock

Infographic copyright © 2014 by Sharon Watson

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