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Notes for
Ten Sentences from Seventh Graders' Writing

[Click here for the exercise.]


Grade 7 L3.1.1. CMC-Logic

   These ten "sentences" are taken from the study of seventh graders' writing. In each case, the students used a comma to join the main clauses, thereby creating the error known as a comma-splice.


1. It sounded just like our front door does when you try to open it -- it screeched. [amplification -- informal; or, with a colon, amplification -- formal]

2. My brother Eddie is very special to me -- he takes me places and does things with me. [amplification -- informal; or, with a colon, amplification -- formal]

3. We look almost like sisters -- we both have brown eyes and brown hair. [amplification -- informal; or, with a colon, amplification -- formal]

4. These dogs are very loving dogs -- they really make nice pets for children. [amplification -- informal; or, with a colon, amplification -- formal]

5. Sally use to date my brother Bill -- they went together and broke up so many times that it isn't funny. [amplification -- informal; or, with a colon, amplification -- formal, OR, with a semicolon, contrast, if the writer wishes to emphasize the "date" / "broke up" distinction]

6. After a while people went to their tents and got in their sleeping bags.  Most of them didn't go to sleep -- they talked for about two hours. [amplification -- informal; or, with a colon, amplification -- formal, OR, with a semicolon, contrast, if the writer wishes to emphasize the "sleep" / "talked" distinction]

7. He looks cute when he smiles, because he had dimples in his cheeks. He is not fat; he is real slim. [contrast]

8. He has got a great batting average -- he is hitting a lot of home runs. [amplification -- informal; or, with a colon, amplification -- formal, OR, with a semicolon, contrast, if the writer wishes to emphasize the distinction between "average" and  "home runs"]

9. Of course we can't say we are twins, because of an age difference -- [amplification -- informal; or, with a colon, amplification -- formal] she's 20; I'm 13. [contrast in age]

10. I was scared and embarrassed -- [amplification -- informal; or, with a colon, amplification -- formal] I was embarrassed because I was wearing a short T-shirt; I was scared because I didn't know what happened. [contrast between reason for being scared and reason for being embarrassed]