Thursday, 15 April, 1999
9 - 10 AM, Peavy 276
Jane Thomas, email@example.com, 737-4289, FRL 222
Tricky "-ing" words
Part of verb (V):
She was running fast.
Participial phrases (P) (modify nouns and verbs):
The man running behind her was slow.
Gerunds (G) (act as nouns):
Running is good exercise.
Exercise I. Underline nouns, double-underline verbs. Identify "-ing" words that act as part of verbs (V), as part of participial phrases (P), or as gerunds (G).
2. The total amount of chemical and biological additions was approaching the ridiculous; even the professor was beginning to have doubts.
3. Arriving on time was complicated by the stalling of taxis and growing number of waiting parked cars.
Exercise II. Underline subjects, double-underline verbs, and fix agreement problems.
2. The number of ants, cockroaches, and scorpions was/were growing.
3. A number of ants was/were already encroaching on the picnic area.
5. Before data was/were collected, a set of experiments was/were designed.
Subjects, verbs, complements, objects
Linking sentences ("be" verbs): no object--
Complement describes or defines subject:
The sky is blue.
The sky is part of the atmosphere.
Intransitive verbs: no object--
The tree fell down.
Transitive verbs: have an object--
The tree hit the ground.
he, she, it him, her, it
Subject: Matilda and I hit a tree.
Object: The jolt injured John and me.
Other kinds of objects
Participle: The man approaching St. Ives had no wife.
The car carrying Matilda and her to the hospital was slow.
Gerund: Running the mile took four minutes.
Bandaging John and me took most of the afternoon.
Infinitive: To take an umbrella is sensible.
To ask Bill and her to the party would be nice.
Exercise III. Underline subject, double-underline verb, and label object (O).
2. Don't hurt the baby!
3. The wind blew hard; it blew the sign down.
5. Dave and I/me couldn't believe Bill and she/her would hurt Susie and he/him.
Adjectives modify nouns.
The red ball under the big, green table rolled slowly along the hard ground.
Adverbs modify verbs (and adjectives).
The woman running the race was fast.
Running the race, the woman was fast.
Placement of phrases affects meaning.
Going to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives.
I met a man with seven wives going to St. Ives.
Avoid "dangling modifiers":
Walking through the woods, the path was dark. [The path was walking?]
Placing it in the box, the sample was dried. [The sample did the "placing"?]
Exercise IV. Underline modifying phrases and look for word being modified. Fix problems.
3. The sentence was changed for a third time, wondering whether it
made any sense.
4. Startled by the sudden noise, there was not a sound from any of
5. The nail was pounded into the board using a hammer.
Active vs. passive voice
Active: The President made mistakes.
Passive: Mistakes were made. (By??)
Exercise V. Change to parallel structure.
Clearcuts on the south side of the mountain got lots of sun; there
was shade in the forests on the north side.
Sexist: A doctor should bring his bag when he visits his patients.
A doctor should bring their bag...
A doctor should bring his/her bag...
If one is a doctor, one should bring oneís bag...
Plural. Doctors should bring their bags...
Rephrase. A doctor should bring a bag when visiting a patient.
1. If the operator reads their manual, they'll find the answers.
2. A nurse earns her cap by fulfilling certain requirements.
4. A ranger asked each visitor how many times he had visited the forest before.
5. A mother should watch her diet carefully before her baby is due to be born.
6. If a workman works hard, he'll get more pay.
7. Every student will have to pass a grammar test before he can graduate.
III. Punctuation (Use this hand-out for problems we canít cover in the workshop)
A sentence must have at least one independent clause.
and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet
Exercise. Independent clauses. Identify coordinating conjunctions and independent clauses. Which sentences need a comma?
2. The oak trees grew 4 feet and gained 3 inches in diameter.
3. Little green space men and women with pink hats will be coming soon and won't know what to do about us.
4. Small purple people-eaters would like to eat us but their enormous man-eating machines can't get through our atmosphere.
Phrases and clauses
The tree by the stream fell with a thud.
The tree approaching me came flying through the air.
If we knew grammar, we'd always be right.
The student who understands grammar has an advantage.
I've finally learned what I need to
Each has a subject and verb
Because he was running, he fell.
Subordinate clauses start with "subordinating conjunctions" such as these (there are many others):
The sentence doesn't need a comma if the dependent clause comes last.
Exercise. Subordinate clauses. Identify conjunctions and clauses. Which sentences need a comma?
2. The conifers grew taller than the herbs but the pines overtopped the brush.
3. Because the sky was green and pink we couldn't see the spaceships.
4. We couldn't see the Martians because the trees were green.
Subordinate phrases have a subject and a verb.
Prepositional phrases have an object.
The comma rule is the same:
Don't use a comma with final phrases.
Restrictive and non-restrictive
clauses and phrases
Restrictive: clarifies meaning.
Use no commas.
Non-restrictive: adds information.
Use two commas.
Exercise. Restrictive and non-restrictive clauses and phrases. Underline the noun that's being modified. Decide whether the clause or phrase is restrictive or non-restrictive. Add commas if necessary. Don't forget--these commas come in pairs!
1. The tree near the stream grows fast.
5. A scientist who received two Nobel prizes went to OSU.
6. Linus Pauling who received two Nobel prizes went to OSU.
7. Her sister Mary was born in 1899, but her sister Mabel wasn't born until 1915.
8. She married her husband Oscar in 1906. After he died, she married her husband Arnold in 1918. She married her third husband Ole in 1931.
9. Dave Jones who plays the fiddle lives in Wales.
10. Dave who plays the fiddle lives in Wales, but Dave who plays the drums lives in Corvallis.
Commas that separate adjectives
Use commas to separate adjectives if you could put an "and" there. (Don't use one before the noun.)
The big, old, red barn burned.
Don't use a comma when the first adjective modifies the next (it's called an adverb in that case).
The light red barn burned.
Use hyphens when two or more words work together to modify the noun.
Watch out for ambiguity
There were ten foot long snakes in the grass.
There were ten-foot-long snakes in the grass.
Elements in a series: commas
Don't use a comma after the last object (i.e., before a verb).
Exercise. Commas with adjectives and in series. Add commas as appropriate.
2. Space people with heavy white aluminum lined space suits are more obvious.
3. We planted trees in plots A B and C.
4. The arrival of seven centaurs five fauns a large group of naiads and dryads and one lion was a problem for the caterer.
Most vegetarians eat cheese. Those who don't eat tofu.
People who can, run every day.
When not to use commas
Just for "taking a breath"
When dashes or parentheses work better
After the subject
Problem comma decisions
After short introductory phrases
The last serial comma question--just try to be consistent
related independent clauses
The sky is blue, and the clouds have disappeared.
connecting independent clauses
joined by "conjunctive adverbs"
It was finished; nevertheless, we would try again.
She enjoyed the race; in fact, she planned to run again next year.
Use dashes to set off parenthetical material to be emphasized.