Directions: Move the arrow over or touch each highlighted word or segment and look for a definition or explanation in the box.
Many English grammar books use the term clause to identify a group of words that are used together and are related.
A clause is either independent or dependent.
A dependent clause is an incomplete sentence and lacks meaning by itself.
An independent clause has what you need for a complete sentence, that is, it has a subject and a verb, and it makes reasonable sense by itself.
You can include a dependent clause with an independent clause and make a sentence. To be a sentence, groups of words need to have at least one independent clause.
COMMON SENTENCE ERRORS:
Fragments, Run-ons, and Comma Splices
For a sentence to be grammatically complete, it must include both a subject and a verb. A clause that lacks either a subject or a verb is a fragment.
Example: After Jesus' death.
This example is a fragment.
You can use the fragment above at the beginning of a sentence, as an introduction, and follow it with an independent clause to make a complete sentence (see the example below).
After Jesus' death,
He rose to heaven.
Note: In recognition of Jesus Christ as God, the pronoun He is capitalized in the above example.
When deciding if a sentence is complete or not, look for the verb first.
Then ask yourself who or what is connected the verb.
The answer will be a noun or a pronoun.
An example of a complete sentence: Jesus wept (This is the shortest sentence in the Bible.)
A run-on sentence is made up of two complete sentences. It's like saying two things at once.
Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name
deliver us and forgive our sins for your name's sake. Psalm 79:9.
As you will see below, you need more than just a comma to separate the independent clauses.
A comma splice is a run-on sentence with a comma separating two complete sentences or clauses.
Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name, deliver us and forgive our sins for your name's sake.
If the independent clauses are closely related, as they are in the example above, you can change the comma to a semicolon to correct the error:
Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins for your name's sake
You may also replace the comma with a period:
Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name. Deliver us and forgive our sins for your name's sake.
In addition, a comma and coordinate conjunction between the two independent clauses yields a correct sentence.
Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name, and deliver us and forgive our sins for your name's sake.
Comma splices are also created when words other than coordinate conjunctions are inserted between independent clauses. Words such as also, consequently, however, in addition, in fact, moreover, nevertheless, otherwise, that is, then, and therefore.
Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name, moreover, deliver us and forgive our sins for your name's sake.
You can always check sentences by removing the word or words between the independent clauses; if you take out moreover in the above example, a comma splice is left.
In a sentence with two independent clauses, the independent clauses must be separated in one of three ways:
1. Separate the independent clauses with a comma and coordinate conjunction. Here's an acronym for the coordinate conjunctions: (FANBOYS); it's made up of the first letters of the coordinate conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).
2. Separate the closely related independent clauses with a semicolon.
3. Separate the independent clauses with a period.