The fundamentals of written communication are often lacking in many students today as they try to rush through writing papers or essays on tests, often failing to proofread. Sometimes these are errors that students have never understood how to correct though they get back their papers with red marks showing their error corrected or simply marked. Seeing what they did wrong isn’t often enough. Sometimes a student needs to learn why it is wrong and how to correct it. Some questions that I feel are pertinent to today’s education in writing are what are the common errors in sentence construction; what are the common errors in paragraph construction; what are pre-writing strategies that can be done; what are diction and style; and finally, what is the purpose of narration, comparison, cause and effect, and argument as writing strategies?
A sentence, according to the OED, is a “set of words complete in itself as the expression of a thought, containing or implying a subject and predicate, and conveying a statement, a question, exclamation, or command” (1997). The most common errors in basic sentence construction are the sentence fragment, the run-on sentence, and the comma splice. A sentence fragment fails to be a sentence in the sense that it cannot stand by itself; it does not contain even one independent clause. A run-on sentence is one that contains two improperly joined sentences; the two kinds of run-on sentences are comma splices and fused sentences. Comma splice errors occur when a comma is placed between two independent clauses. A fused sentence occurs when two sentences are joined without any punctuation.
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