Category Archives: sentence structure

Comma (and restrictive vs. nonrestrictive clause)

In a previous post, I wrote that using a comma after an introductory dependent clause is standard practice, no thinking required. To refresh your memory, here’s a sentence that begins with an introductory dependent clause: If you’d like to go … Continue reading

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Comma (after dependent clause)

As a general rule, use a comma when a dependent clause precedes an independent clause. The sentence above is an example of the rule it describes! “As a general rule” is incomplete; it can’t stand on its own. That makes … Continue reading

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Fuzzy Sentence Structure

Last week, I heard this on the radio: She is a former prosecutor and author. Because of the way the words are arranged, the meaning is fuzzy. Does the adjective “former” modify both “prosecutor” and “author”? Or does it modify … Continue reading

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Concise Sentence Structure

A quick example on this lucky Friday the 13th: President Bush has threatened Iran with military action if it fails to stop enriching uranium. There are no grammatical errors in this sentence. But “if it fails to stop” twists my … Continue reading

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Syntax Critical

Last night, I came across this sentence in a mystery novel: The little Adelie penguins who congregated on Cape Royds each spring and laid their eggs and raised their broods had had to walk sixty kilometers across the ice to … Continue reading

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Confusing Syntax

The following sentence is a good example of confusing syntax: My office was at the far end of the pier, a large space with a high arching window overlooking the bay and the East Bay cities and hills. Whoa, there. … Continue reading

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Rovian Usage

In a May 25 interview on ABC’s “This Week,” former White House official Karl Rove made it clear that he has no intention of complying with the subpoena the House Judiciary Committee recently served on him. He said: The House … Continue reading

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