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11.1 The sentence fragment

Heads up A sentence fragment is a sentence that lacks a subject or a verb, or cannot stand on its own. Like this one or the next one. Because it doesn't. Sentence fragments should be avoided.

11.2 The comma splice

Heads up When a sentence contains two principal or co-ordinate clauses (phrases that could stand alone as separate sentences), it is always wrong to connect them with a comma. Here is an example of a comma splice:

  • Sheep are great, they live on grass.

To correct a comma splice, choose one of three options:

  1. Insert a period after the first phrase and start a new sentence
    • Sheep are great. They live on grass.
  2. Introduce the second clause with "and", "or", "but", "because" or a similar word
    • Sheep are great because they live on grass.
  3. Use a colon, semicolon or dash to separate the phrases. Never use a comma.
    • Sheep are great; they live on grass.

11.3 Articulate

Heads up Used as a verb, articulate means to pronounce distinctly, to utter a speech sound by making the necessary movements of the speech organs, or to express in coherent verbal form. It is therefore impossible to articulate (verb) in writing although one can create an articulate (adj.) essay.

11.4 Crossing the stage

Check This Please see Convocation, section 9.4. Convocate is not a verb; our students graduate. 



Heads up  A "heads-up" icon alerts you to common style issues.

Check This  Watch for "Check this out" icons to point you to more information.

Rule of Thumb  We've put together a few handy and easy-to-remember tips.

PC Mac  Some punctuation characters mentioned in the style guide (such as the en-dash) are in the extended character set. This means these characters cannot be found on your keyboard, but you can type in key codes to retrieve them. We have included the common keystrokes for both Mac and PC.