Here are the corrections and explanations for last week’s entries.
Identify and correct the errors in the following examples.
“Wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
This is not a complete thought. There is no verb.
“They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
“And now, just as things seem to be turning around.”
This is not a complete thought.
“And now, things seem to be turning around.”
“A disappointing day that seemed to fit perfectly into the culture of Lancer football.”
This is not a complete thought.
“It was a disappointing day that seemed to fit perfectly into the culture of Lancer football.”
Newspaper writing should, at the very least, consist of complete sentences and should not be constructed as informal speech.
Newspaper writers should carefully proof their writings before they submit them for publication. Writers appear to be sloppy and illiterate when they make elementary mistakes such as not writing in complete sentences.
USING CAPITALS CORRECTLY
PART A – COLONS
This is a tough one but it is important.
Which of the following has the correct punctuation?
“Please bring the following items to work tomorrow: A new pen, your brain, a great attitude and a smile.”
RULE: Use a colon before a list when the list is preceded by a complete independent clause. The capital “A” should be a small “a”.
“Please bring the following items to work tomorrow: a new pen, your brain, a great attitude and a smile.”
“The recent election was hard-fought: The incumbent mayor won by a landslide.”
RULE: Colons may be used to separate independent clauses that are not separated by a conjunction or any other connecting word or phrase.
Some authorities do not capitalize the word following the colon when the subject or point of view does not change between the first and second clauses. This is a choice, and I prefer to not capitalize the first word of the second clause.
Identify and correct all the errors in the following pieces.
“It’s a pretty unique situation. There’s hardly anything to compare it to.”
“Unique” is an absolute modifier, so “pretty” cannot be attached to it.
Sentences should not end in a preposition, so the second clause should be reworded.
“It’s a unique situation. There’s hardly anything to which to compare it.”
“A handful of students have been temporarily banned from Lancers’ basketball games in the past, but none in the last three years.”
The subject of the sentence is “handful, a collective, singular noun, so the verb must be singular.
The subject of both clauses is the same, so there is no need for a comma between the clauses.
“A handful of students has been temporarily banned from Lancers’ basketball games in the past but none in the last three years.”
“I know it’s tough to visualize this, but in terms of Ontario highways, this trail system is pretty unique,” said Garfield Dales, manager of project delivery for the ministry’s Windsor Border Initiative Implementation Group.”
Funny, this is the same error as in the example above, and it came from two different writers. Wow!
“I know it’s tough to visualize this, but in terms of Ontario highways, this trail system is unique,” said Garfield Dales, manager of project delivery for the ministry’s Windsor Border Initiative Implementation Group.
Which sentences are correct and which are incorrect?
Explain the rules.
“Bad” is an adjective. Adjectives modify nouns or pronouns.
Adjectives are used when referring to the senses.
“Badly” is an adverb. Adverbs modify verbs, adverbs or adjectives.
Adverbs are used when referring to actions.
“She felt badly about missing the boat.” (Incorrect)
“She felt bad about missing the boat.” (Correct)
“Things looked bad for the Mudville nine.” (Correct)
“Things looked badly for the Mudville nine.” (Incorrect)
“Mudville played bad last night.” (Incorrect)
“Mudville played badly last night.” (Correct)
“The coffee tasted bad this morning.” (Correct)
“The coffee tasted badly this morning.” (Incorrect)
All of the examples below are incomplete thoughts and are not sentences; they are only sentence fragments.
“John, being a friendly computer geek and hockey fan.”
This has no verb.
“John, being a friendly computer geek and hockey fan, really liked hockey in high definition and stereo.”
“Because we are football fans.”
“Because”, a subordinate conjunction, makes this a subordinate clause that cannot stand by itself.
“Because we are football fans, we can brave cold weather to see the game.”
“If we want to.”
This is a conditional, dependent clause; it needs a principal clause.
“If we want to, we will go swimming on New Year’s eve.”
“While driving on Ouellette Avenue yesterday afternoon.”
This is like the examples above; it is incomplete.
“I was ticketed for speeding while driving on Ouellette Avenue yesterday afternoon.”
I LIKE THE DEPTH OF THIS ONE!
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”
Norman Vincent Peale, who lived from 1898 to 1993, said this.
LAST WEEK’S WORDS
“Occidental” (adj.) means western or native to the countries of the west as Europe or the Americas, as opposed to the countries of the orient.
“Credulity” (n.) refers to a disposition arising from weakness or ignorance to believe too readily, naivete or trust.
“Credulous”, meaning ready to believe, is a noun form.
“Credulousness” is a noun form.
“Credo” is the root word.
“Progenitor” (n.) refers to an ancestor in the direct line, a forerunner or an antecedent.
“Progeny”, meaning “offspring”, is the most common word form used.
“Deferentially” (adv.) means respectfully, regardfully or submissively.
“Deferential” is the adjective form.
“Deference” is the noun form.
“Disparage” (v.) means to find fault, to belittle, to dismiss or to discount.