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Twenty-Five Mechanical Rules
Terms in this set (12)
Use a comma to separate two coordinate adjectives modifying the same noun. "Give me the rusty, gray keys."
Fix this one: "I like new fresh potatoes."
I like new, fresh potatoes.
Use a comma to separate two independent clauses. "I like dogs, and I love horses."
Fix this one: "I went to the store and I bought carrots."
I went to the store, and I bought carrots.
USe a comma after an adverbial dependent clause, not before. (Clue - you can hear where to put the comma when you read the sentence to yourself.) "When we opened the battered chest, we found the ancient sword."
Fix this one: "After I ate the burger I decided I was too full to eat the fries."
After I ate the burger, I decided I was too full to eat the fries.
Non-essential expressions should be placed between commas. "As we traveled on, tired and weary, the light grew dimmer and dimmer."
Fix this one: "Constable Bob twirling his baton chatted with the grocer on the corner."
Constable Bob, twirling his baton, chatted with the grocer on the corner.
Introductory elements are followed by commas UNLESS they are short prepositional phrases (unless it is needed for clarity). "On my desk sits an old volume of tales." (See, no comma here.)
"For Jeff, Lewis is not a good lab partner." (Need it here.)
What about this one: "Before breakfast my mother likes to water her flowers."
Before breakfast my mother likes to water her flowers.
An appositive is set off by commas.
"My prized possession, this ancient key, has been in our family for years."
Fix this one: "Jenny my little sister wore her new boots today."
Jenny, my little sister, wore her new boots today.
How about this? "When we opened the box we found coins and discovered several gems."
When we opened the box, we found coins and discovered several gems.
Semi-colons separate two independent clauses. "John loves Meredith; Meredith loves crepes."
Fix this one: "I know all the kids at the barn Most of them want to be my friend."
I know all the kids at the barn; Most of them want to be my friend.
Use commas with words like However, Nonetheless, Likewise, Moreover, Therefore . . . "Our only remaining option, therefore, is to tell the truth."
Fix this one: "I am however willing to try the new vegetable."
I am, however, willing to try the new vegetable.
A dash describe a subject and are made with two hyphens and no spaces between hyphens or words. "All of the contestants--the boys and the girls--were exhausted."
Fix this one: "The wild animals--except for the zebras - - were dangerous."
The wild animals--except for the zebras - - were dangerous.
If two words form ONE adjective when they combine, add a hyphen between them. "The mid-week study spot was cancelled."
Fix this one: "The eight year old can of beans was yummy."
The eight-year-old can of beans was yummy.
Colons set off lists, explanations, or quotations. (Clue - for a colon to be used, the part BEFORE the colon must be a complete sentence). "We need to secure the following for our party: salsa, chips, Sprite."
Fix this one: "Dogs are like people they may like you but they may not like you."
Dogs are like people: They may like you, but they may not like you.
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