Sept, G9
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(Code and Color Key)
The Punctuation of Compounded Main Clauses
Exercise # 1
Analysis Key

Note: I don’t pay much attention to the students’ analysis of these sentences, primarily because I do not have that kind of time, and we do not have time to review the complete analysis in class. What I am interested in is how the students punctuate the sentences and the reason(s) they give. There are no “correct” answers in this type of exercise, because the question involved is What logic was the writer trying to express? I do, however, expect the students to use the logical connections explained in the instructional material. Thus, if a student uses a semicolon, I expect “contrast” as the reason, with some indication of what the student saw as the elements of the contrast (See below.) If the writer used a dash, I expect to see “Amplification, informal” as the reason. If a colon, “Amplification, formal.” As a pure matter of “correctness,” however, students could use a semicolon, dash, or colon to connect any two main clauses.

1. Some fans go {to a Major League game} {for a family day out or fun and enjoyment} [Adv. to “go” while *they are* {on vacation}]. | [; o] Others fall {under the drunkin’, the hardcore, or the concentration fans}. |

Reason:__semicolon – contrast between “some” and “others”______ 

2. More and more people are choosing to continue their education [#1] {at colleges and universities} {around the world}. | Some {of them} choose to stay [#2] {on campus}, or close by [#3]. | [; o] Others decide to travel larger distances [#4] daily to get [#4] {to their destination}. | [Combine the last two.] 

Reason:___ semicolon – contrast between “some” and “others” and between “close” and “distances”_

3. We, [Adj. to “We” who have owned dogs (DO)], probably remember them (DO) {as pups}. | We took these cute and harmless animals (DO) {into our homes}. | [; m] Many {of us} hunted {with them}. | [Combine the last two.]

Reason:_A dash or colon is acceptable here, but it would suggest that the last sentence is basically an afterthought. A semicolon emphasizes the contrast between “cute and harmless” as opposed to “hunting” as well as a contrast between into the home as opposed to outside, A dash after “pups” would be interesting and suggest that the next two sentences amplify (add details) to the “remember them as pups.” That, however, raises a question – Did they hunt with them as pups? [Note that the purpose of this type of class discussion is not to determine the correctness or incorrectness of these specific sentences, but rather to get students thinking about the logic of sentence structure.]

4. What is the difference (PN) {between an amateur and a professional}? | The answer {to that} is easy (PA). | [: (or) – a] A professional gets paid (P) to make mistakes [#5]. |

Reason:__Colon, formal amplification, or dash, informal amplification. The last sentence is equal to “The answer.” 

5. The dog becomes much more [#6] {than a friend} {to some}. | [; (or): (or) – they] They affect the quality (DO) {of life} {for many} {of the disabled}. |

Reason:_The informal dash or the formal colon emphasize the “more than,” whereas the semicolon suggests a contrast between “friend” and “helper.”

1. ”Education” is the direct object of the infinitive “to continue.” The infinitive phrase is the direct object of “are choosing.”
2. “Stay” is an infinitive that functions as the direct object of “choose.”
3. If one wants to get technical, “by” is a preposition in an ellipsed phrase–“by *the campus*.” Some people will see the adverb “close” as modifying “stay,” and “by the campus” as modifying “close.” Others will explain “close” as modifying “by the campus,” and “by the campus” as modifying “stay.” I rarely get into explanations at this degree of technicality with students because there are more important things to do.
4. “Distances” is the direct object of the infinitive “to travel.” The infinitive phrase functions as the direct object of “decide.” The infinitive phrase based on “to get” functions as an adverb (of purpose) to “to travel.”
5. “Mistakes” is the direct object of the infinitive “to make.” The infinitive phrase functions as an adverb (of purpose?) to “gets paid”?
6. Grammarians will probably disagree about the function of “more.” Some will see it as a predicate (pro)noun (making “much” an adjective), whereas others will see it as a predicate adjective (making “much” an adverb). As always in KISS, either explanation is acceptable.