Tag Archives: grammar exercise

Eliminating Sentence Structure Errors

[Instructors: Download the exercise and key at the end of the post.]

Some of the most common complaints about writing in the workplace involve three sentence structure errors.

 

A fragment is usually a broken-off part of a sentence. Fragments often can be identified by the words that introduce them–words such as although, as, because, even, except, for example, if, instead of, since, such as, that, which, and when.

Example: Jeremy loaded his résumé with keywords and relevant skills. Which is why he            couldn’t understand receiving no responses.

Improved: Jeremy loaded his résumé with keywords and relevant skills, which is why he couldn’t understand receiving no responses.

Run-on (fused) sentence. A sentence with two independent clauses must be joined by a coordinating conjunction (and, or, nor, but) or by a semicolon. Without a conjunction or a semicolon, a run-on sentence results:

Example: Becca considered an internship she also thought about graduate school.

Improved: Becca considered an internship, but she also thought about graduate school.

Improved: Becca considered an internship; she also thought about graduate school.

Comma splice. When a writer joins (splices together) two independent clauses without using a coordinating conjunction, a comma splice results.

Example: Jeremy disliked networking, however he knew how important it was.

Improved: Jeremy disliked networking; however, he knew how important it was.

ImprovedJeremy disliked networking, but he knew how important it was.

Study the following. Identify fragments, run-ons, and comma splices. For each item write an improved version. If a sentence is correct, write C.

  1. Jeremy mailed over a hundred beautifully written résumés. Which is why he was depressed when he didn’t receive quick responses.
  2. To come up with a tagline that describes what you do and who you are. Ask yourself questions about what you are really good at.
  3. Candidates can’t anticipate precise questions, however they can expect to be asked about their education, skills, experience, and availability.
  4. An elevator speech is a pitch you can deliver in 60 seconds it tells who you are and what you can offer.
  5. Becca hoped to find a job in marketing, however she was willing to consider other offers.
  6. If possible, call in advance to inquire about what to wear, also ask how to prepare.
  7. Some job candidates go a step further they prepare professional-looking business cards with their name and tagline.
  8. In today’s challenging and digital job market, the focus is not so much on what you want but on what the employer needs.
  9. Although you may be changing jobs and careers in the future. You still need to train for a specific career area now. 
  10. Zack saw no value in preparing a résumé at this time. Because he was only a sophomore and searching for a job was a distant and distressing task.
  11. Employment counselors suggest learning more about careers they recommend taking a summer job, an internship, or a part-time position in your field.
  12. Having a current résumé makes you look well-organized and professional. If an unexpected employment opportunity should arise.
  13. With over 50,000 job boards and employment websites deluging the Internet. It’s hard to know where to start.
  14. Early in her academic career, Becca begin monitoring advertisements and websites in her career area, Jeremy preferred to wait.
  15. Recruiters seem to favor chronological résumés. Which is good because they are easier to write than functional résumés.

EliminatingSentStrucErrorsExercise

EliminatingSentenceStructureErrorsKEY

Polishing Parallelism

 

Instructors: Download the exercise and key at the end of this post.

shutterstock_310419806Although parallelism sounds as if it might be a gymnastic feat, it is a skillful writing technique that involves balanced writing. Sentences written so that their parts are balanced or parallel are easy to read and understand. Parallelism satisfies our basic love of symmetry. We remember expressions such as of the people, by the people, for the people and Seeing is believing (not Seeing is to believe).

To achieve parallel construction, use similar structures to express similar ideas. For example, the words computing, recording, and storing are parallel because the words all end in ­–ing. To express the list as computing, recording, and storage is disturbing because the last item is not what the reader expects. Try to match nouns with nouns, verbs with verbs, and clauses with clauses. Avoid mixing active-voice verbs with passive-voice verbs. Your goal is to keep the wording balanced when expressing similar ideas.

Lacks Parallelism

Achieves Parallelism

Candidates must be reliable, creative, and show enthusiasm. Candidates must be reliable, creative, and enthusiastic.
The committee is expected to monitor timeliness, quality is to be verified, and provide feedback. The committee is expected to monitor timeliness, verify quality, and provide feedback.
Our advertisements have three objectives:

  1. We want to increase product use.
  2. Introduce complementary products.
  3. Our corporate image must be enhanced.
Our advertisements have three objectives:

  1. Increase product use
  2. Introduce complementary products
  3. Enhance our corporate image
Not only must we check our website, but also monitoring the entire Internet is necessary. Not only must we check our website, but also we must monitor the entire Internet.

Improve the following sentences by perfecting opportunities for parallelism.

  1. My boss is well-informed, witty, and she is fair.
  2. Business messages must be concise, correct, and written with clarity.
  3. In preparing to write a business report, you should determine the report purpose, identify the relevant issues, and then information must be collected.
  4. Good listeners do the following:
    1. They usually stop talking.
    2. Remove distractions.
    3. Questions are asked but they must be relevant.
  5. Guidelines for improving workplace safety include changing locks before moving into a new office, interior lights should be left on even when the business is closed, and fire exits must always be kept unlocked.
  6. Not only do we design and support your new wireless network, but also troubleshooting and free consulting are provided by us.
  7. The most important considerations for today’s job candidates are the salary, the environment of work, and candidates give special consideration to career advancement opportunities.
  8. This week’s program is all about money—earning it, investing it, and how you will spend it!
  9. A high-powered MBA costs hundreds of dollars an hour. Our program covers the same sage advice:
    1. Starting a business
    2. You will learn information about writing a business plan and understanding taxes.
    3. How to write a marketing feasibility study
    4. Employment benefits plans and licensing requirements are studied.
  10. Not only were the training sessions stimulating, but also they were a challenge.
  11. The proposal will elaborate on (a) dealing with the public, (b) how to obtain corporate contributions, and (c) the timing of a marketing campaign.
  12. One way small businesses can attract talented employees is to provide opportunities to telecommute, working in virtual teams, and encourage employees to collaborate online.
  13. Classes will be available in training for strength, being flexible, reduction of stress, and aerobic/cardiovascular conditioning.
  14. We have hired a consultant to help managers stay on track with the new organizational plan, team resources must be developed, and they will monitor customer feedback.
  15. [Convert to a vertical list.] To make a YouTube video you should first obtain a video recording device such as a cell phone, webcam, or camcorder. The most popular YouTube videos are video blogs, comedy skits, how-to videos, and travel videos. Decide what you want to make. Remember that your video must be 10 minutes or less for traditional YouTube membership accounts. You will want to create a video with good light quality, and that usually means daytime recording. Finally, be sure to use computer editing software to change or delete anything.

    Instructors: Download the exercise Polishing Parallelism hereDownload the key to Polishing Parallelism here.

Eliminating Fragments, Run-ons, and Comma Splices

Instructors: Businesses gripe that new grads have poor grammar. Help your students learn to eliminate three easily fixed sentence structure errors. Download Eliminating Fragments, Run-ons, and Comma Splices and the answer key below or cut and paste directly from this post.

                        Eliminating Fragments, Run-ons, and Comma Splices

Fragment. A fragment is usually a broken-off part of a sentence. Fragments often can be identified by the words that introduce them–words such as although, as, because, even, except, for example, if, instead of, since, such as, that, which, and when.

Example: Jeremy loaded his résumé with keywords and relevant skills. Which is why he couldn’t understand receiving no responses.

Improved: Jeremy loaded his résumé with keywords and relevant skills, which is why he couldn’t understand receiving no responses.

Run-on (fused) sentence. A sentence with two independent clauses must be joined by a coordinating conjunction (and, or, nor, but) or by a semicolon. Without a conjunction or a semicolon, a run-on sentence results:

Example: Becca considered an internship she also thought about graduate school.

Improved: Becca considered an internship, but she also thought about graduate school.

Improved: Becca considered an internship; she also thought about graduate school.

Comma splice. When a writer joins (splices together) two independent clauses without using a coordinating conjunction, a comma splice results.

Example: Jeremy disliked networking, however he knew how important it was.

Improved: Jeremy disliked networking; however, he knew how important it was.

Improved: Jeremy disliked networking but he knew how important it was.

—————————————————————————————————————————-

Study the following. Identify fragments, run-ons, and comma splices. For each item write an improved version. If a sentence is correct, write C.

  1. Jeremy mailed over a hundred beautifully written résumés. Which is why he was depressed when he didn’t receive quick responses.
  2. To come up with a tagline that describes what you do and who you are. Ask yourself questions about what you are really good at.
  3.   3.  Candidates can’t anticipate precise questions, however they can expect to be asked about their  education, skills, experience, and availability.
  4. An elevator speech is a pitch you can deliver in 60 seconds it tells who you are and what you can offer.
  5. Becca hoped to find a job in marketing, however she was willing to consider other offers.
  6. If possible, call in advance to inquire about what to wear, also ask how to prepare.
  7. Some job candidates go a step further they prepare professional-looking business cards with their name and tagline.
  8. In today’s challenging and digital job market, the focus is not so much on what you want but on what the employer needs.
  9. Although you may be changing jobs and careers in the future. You still need to train for a specific career area now.
  10. Zack saw no value in preparing a résumé at this time. Because he was only a sophomore and searching for a job was a distant and distressing task.
  11. Employment counselors suggest learning more about careers they recommend taking a summer job, an internship, or a part-time position in your field.
  12. Having a current résumé makes you look well-organized and professional. If an unexpected employment opportunity should arise.
  13. With over 50,000 job boards and employment websites deluging the Internet. It’s hard to know where to start.
  14. Early in her academic career, Becca begin monitoring advertisements and websites in her career area, Jeremy preferred to wait.
  15. Recruiters seem to favor chronological résumés. Which is good because they are easier to write than functional résumés.

———————————————————————————————————————————

Key to Eliminating Fragments, Run-ons, and Comma Splices

  1. Fragment. Jeremy mailed over a hundred beautifully written résumés, which is why he was depressed when he didn’t receive quick responses. [You can correct this fragment by joining it to the sentence with a comma.]
  1. Fragment. To come up with a tagline that describes what you do and who you are, ask yourself questions about what you are really good at. [You can correct this fragment by joining it to the sentence with a comma.]
  1. Comma splice. Candidates can’t anticipate precise questions; however, they can expect to be asked about their education, skills, experience, and availability. [Correct this comma splice by changing the comma to a semicolon preceding however.]
  1. Run-on. An elevator speech is a pitch you can deliver in 60 seconds; it tells who you are and what you can offer. [You can correct this run-on by joining the two independent clauses with a semicolon or by breaking the two clauses into separate sentences.]
  1. Comma splice. Becca hoped to find a job in marketing; however, she was willing to consider other offers. [You can correct this comma splice by using a semicolon to join the two ideas. You could also start a new sentence with however.]
  1. Comma splice. If possible, call in advance to inquire about what to wear; also ask how to prepare. [You could correct this comma splice by (a) joining the two parts with a semicolon, (b) starting a new sentence, or (c) joining the two parts with a conjunction such as and.
  1. Run-on. Some job candidates go a step further; they prepare professional-looking business cards with their name and tagline. [You can correct this run-on by joining the two clauses with a semicolon. You could also start a new sentence.]
  1. C. In today’s challenging and digital job market, the focus is not so much on what you want but on what the employer needs. [This sentence is correct!]
  1. Fragment. Although you may be changing jobs and careers in the future, you still need to train for a specific career area now. [Correct this fragment by joining it to the sentence with a comma.]
  1. Fragment. Zack saw no value in preparing a résumé at this time because he was only a sophomore and searching for a job was a distant and distressing task. [Correct this fragment by joining it to the sentence. No comma is needed.]
  1. Run-on. Employment counselors suggest learning more about careers; they recommend taking a summer job, an internship, or a part-time position in your field. [You can correct this run-on by using a semicolon to join the two parts. You could also start a new sentence.]
  1. Fragment. Having a current résumé makes you look well-organized and professional if an unexpected employment opportunity should arise. [You can correct this fragment by joining it to the preceding sentence.]
  1. Fragment. With over 50,000 job boards and employment websites deluging the Internet, it’s hard to know where to start. [This fragment was corrected by joining the two parts with a comma.]
  1. Comma splice. Early in her academic career, Becca began monitoring advertisements and websites in her career area; Jeremy preferred to wait. [You can correct this comma splice by joining the two parts with a semicolon. You can also start a new sentence.]
  1. Fragment. Recruiters seem to favor chronological résumés, which is good because they are easier to write than functional résumés. [To correct this fragment, join it to the sentence or start a new sentence.]

 

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