Section 7: Introduction to Sentences, Punctuation, Style

Section 7 is the final stage for analyzing grammar in context effectively, at the SENTENCE level.

Section 7 has four primary sub-sections:

Sentence Variety - There are four basic forms of sentence variety: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex.

Punctuation Rules - Punctuation is the use of conventional (and agreed-upon) marks to guide readers through our written text. There are three components to our discussion of punctuation: 11 basic rules of punctuation; where commas might be a matter of style or convention; where commas are absolutely incorrect.

Patterns of Error - Everyone should develop their reflective skills for determining if they make certain errors consistently. In other words, you should recognize patterns of error that you make in order to fix them more effectively. We will discuss some of the more common patterns of error that writers make.

Style and Rhetorical Choice - Style is rhetorical, meaning that style is the conscious choices you make for expressing your ideas in writing. From our perspective, these choices are always rhetorical choices, based on your understanding of who you are as a writer, who your primary and secondary readers might be, the kind of text (or genre) that you are writing in, and the larger context of your writing situation. Since we see grammar as descriptive, rather than prescriptive, we extend this connection by describing the ways that grammatical choices can also be stylistic choices.

The primary goal for this sub-section is to help you develop strategies at the SENTENCE level and beyond. This means an ability to:

  • distinguish between simple, compound, and complex sentences 
  • punctuate sentences based on recognition of dependent and independent clauses and required constituents of phrases and clauses 
  • punctuate sentences based on recognition of restrictive and non-restrictive clauses and phrases
  • punctuate sentences based on an understanding of simple, complex, compound, and compound-complex sentences
  • recognize and correct sentence fragments
  • recognize and correct dangling or misplaced modifiers
  • recognize and correct grammatically incorrect and sexist use of pronouns
  • recognize and evaluate in context the use of the passive

Once you have read all of the pages in this section, you can develop your anlaytical skills further by reading through the ANALYZING EXAMPLES page, then working your way through the Section 7 Practice Exercises.