Spoonful #10: FANBOYS STRIKE AGAIN
To usher in this spoonful, here is a delightful poem by Douglas Florian called "COMMAS"!
Do commas have mommas
Who teach them to pause,
Who comfort and calm them,
And clean their sharp claws?
Who tell them short stories
Of uncommon commas
And send them to bed
In their comma pajamas?
Rules about commas are so important, reviewing them one at a time is the best way to make sure they stick. Without further ado, here is Comma Rule #2!
WHEN A FANBOY JOINS A COMPLETE SENTENCE TO A SENTENCE FRAGMENT, NO COMMA IS REQUIRED BEFORE THE FANBOY.
STEP #1: What is a SENTENCE FRAGMENT?
* It can't stand on its own: it is not a complete sentence.
* Some lack a subject, verb, or both: you'll be left wondering who, what, when, where, which, how, and/or why.
* (Other fragments have a subject and verb, but are incomplete without leaning on complete sentences. Known as DEPENDENT CLAUSES, these do not require FANBOYS as connectors. As such, we will save them for a different spoonful.)
STEP #2: Five SENTENCE FRAGMENTS with questions in parentheses
1) my book collection (What about it? Anyone want to swap books?)
2) visit one or two of the beaches (Who? When? Which?)
3) earned ten minutes of extra recess on Friday (How? Who?)
4) dreamed of riding it (Who? What?)
5) go out for a fancy dinner (Who? Ooh! Please invite me!)
STEP #3: Five COMPLETE SENTENCES (AKA INDEPENDENT CLAUSES)
1) I need a personal library.
2) John wanted to go on a studio tour in Los Angeles.
3) Miss Martin's class behaved nicely all week.
4) Rachel stared at the beautiful bike.
5) Do you want to catch a movie tonight?
STEP #4: Connect with FANBOYS (COMPLETE SENTENCES go first)
1) I need a personal library for my book collection.
2) John wanted to go on a studio tour in Los Angeles and visit one or two of the beaches.
3) Miss Martin's class behaved nicely all week and earned ten minutes of extra recess on Friday.
4) Raven stared at the beautiful bike and dreamed of riding it.
5) Do you want to catch a movie tonight or go out for a fancy dinner?
There's no question that AND is the most popular of the FANBOYS, hence three of the sentences above used it. Did you notice that BUT, SO, and YET weren't in any of the sample sentences? That's because they act differently. More on that in the next spoonful...
Thank you for reading A Spoonful of Grammar! The FANBOYS and I truly appreciate it.
Laura Fineberg Cooper
4/19/2019 05:29:00 pm
Great post, love the fun poems. Commas can be tricky!
4/19/2019 05:38:47 pm
Thank you, Marcia! Commas are definitely tricky. In fact, BUT decided to take a research holiday due to sources having conflicting information. So ITEMS IN A SERIES will be the next Comma Rule instead.
4/28/2020 02:00:38 pm
Laura, has been teaching me comma usage for years! (Should I have put a comma after your name?) These monthly reviews help me a lot. Thank you!
4/28/2020 02:10:57 pm
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