Monday, September 23, 2019

belated comma explanations for John Mac

I had promised John McCrarey an explanation for the answers to Quiz 1 and Quiz 2 from my second post about commas, but I didn't get around to it until just now. Sorry, John! Anyway, here are those quizzes again, with the answers hidden as they were before. Try the quizzes out before scrolling further and reading the explanations.

Identify what kind of sentences these are: simple, compound, or complex.

1. Mark and John have itchy assholes because they just got out of prison.
2. Taryn, Jessica, and Brenda drank a keg dry, vomited lustily, got into their jeep, and drove into a wall.
3. Whenever Barton sings, I feel ants crawling all over my fucking scrotum.
4. Barry stalked Emily at school; Emily stalked Barry online.
5. The leper didn't mind offering her johns a scab/pustulation discount on Wednesdays.

[ANSWERS (highlight to see): 1. complex; 2. simple; 3. complex; 4. compound; 5. simple]

How many clauses are in each sentence?

1. I don't know who that is.
2. Before Sandy got married, she used to be a titanic slut.
3. The friend I hate the most is coming to that party.
4. Sandy drunkenly told us she had no idea where we were.
5. Bilbo told Smaug that the reptilian beast was the goddamn sexiest thing he had ever seen.

[ANSWERS (highlight to see): 1. two; 2. two; 3. two; 4. three; 5. three]


For Quiz 1:

1. You know this is a complex sentence because it contains the subordinating conjunction because. A subordinating conjunction introduces a subordinate (or dependent) clause, and a complex sentence has both an independent and a dependent clause.
2. This is a simple sentence. It has only one clause, but with both a compound subject (Taryn, Jessica, and Brenda) and a compound predicate (drank, vomited, got into, and drove). If you're trying to count clauses, treat a compound subject as a single subject, and treat a compound predicate as a single predicate.
3. This is a complex sentence, and the clue is the subordinating conjunction Whenever, right there at the beginning of the sentence. Remember: a complex sentence has both an independent and a dependent clause in it. Whenever introduces a dependent clause.
4. The semicolon here is a huge hint that this is a compound sentence. Remember: a compound sentence has two independent clauses, and those clauses can be separated either by a semicolon or by a comma-conjunction. How do we know these are independent clauses? Well, ask yourself: do they express complete, stand-alone thoughts? Yes, they do: Barry stalked Emily is a stand-alone thought. So is Emily stalked Barry. If the clause had been Because Barry stalked Emily, then that would NOT have been a stand-alone thought: it would have been a dependent clause, depending on an independent clause to make a complete thought. See how this works?
5. This is a simple sentence because it has only one clause. How do you know? Well, ask yourself: what's the subject? The leper. What's the predicate? It's didn't mind. One subject + one predicate = one clause. Ergo, a simple sentence.

For Quiz 2:

This is an exercise about counting clauses, which means you need to be able to recognize what a clause is. To review: a clause is a group of words with a subject (single or compound) and a predicate (single or compound). Look for those signs when looking for clauses.

1. Two clauses.
a. I don't know (I = subject; don't know = predicate)
b. who that is (who = relative pron. introducing clause; that = subject; is = predicate)

2. Two clauses.
a. Before Sandy got married (Before = subordinating conj. introducing subordinate/dependent clause; Sandy = subj.; got married = pred.)
b. she used to be (she = subj.; used to be = pred.)

3. Two clauses.
a. The friend... is coming (friend = subj.; is coming = pred.)
b. I hate (I = subj.; hate = pred.)

4. Three clauses.
a. Sandy... told (Sandy = subj.; told = pred.)
b. she had (she = subj.; had = pred.)
c. where we were (where = subord. conj. introducing clause; we = subj.; were = pred.)

5. Three clauses.
a. Bilbo told (Bilbo = subj.; told = pred.)
b. the reptilian beast was (beast = subj.; was = pred.)
c. he had... seen (he = subj.; had seen = pred.)

How do you count clauses? Look for a subject plus a verb. Here's an easy one:

I came; I saw; I conquered.

Three clauses. How about this one?

The friend I now despise because she betrayed me all those years ago is coming to New York next week, and I can't wait to see her.

(In the explanation below, the simple subjects/simple predicates are in parentheses—these are the most stripped-down elements of the subject and the predicate, e.g., if the subject is "the large, angry cat," the simple subject is merely "cat.")

Clause 1: The friend... is coming to New York (friend/is coming)
Clause 2: I now despise (I/despise)
Clause 3: because she betrayed me (she/betrayed)
Clause 4: I can't wait (I/can't wait)

Try these on for size. How many clauses? Are these sentences simple, compound, or complex?

1. Santa Claus, when he's not delivering presents, tracks down serial killers in his spare time.
2. Clara taught me how to use a butt plug the other day.
3. We don't understand how Grover Monster was able to kill a roomful of Muslim terrorists and disappear like a goddamn ninja.
4. Stocks rose and fell all day long; some of the graphs began to look tit-shaped.
5. Martine, Hélène, and Sophie partied in the 11th arrondissement and slept on the street.

HINT: remember that a clause is a subject PLUS a verb!! If you see a verb, but it has no subject, then you're NOT looking at a clause! (This is also true, by the way, if you see a noun with no associated verb!)

ANSWERS: [1. 2/complex; 2. 1/simple; 3. 2/complex; 4. 2/compound; 5. 1/simple]

No comments: