Posts Tagged ‘ independent clause ’

Teasing Trevor: When To Use A Comma With Dependent Clauses

Do you know which of these sentences needs another comma?

A. I liked the angle of Trevor’s jaw so I winked at him.
B. He surprised me when he sustained eye contact and circled his lips with his tongue.
C. I wanted to chew on those lips which seemed so juicy and pink.

Examples A & C each need a comma added but for different reasons.

Both clauses in Example A could stand on their own as complete sentences. They are independent clauses, and you need a conjunction (in this case, so) and a comma if you want to stick them together.

I liked the angle of Trevor’s jaw.

I winked at him.

I liked the angle of Trevor’s jaw, so I winked at him.

Example C also contains two clauses.

1. I wanted to chew on those lips.

2. Seemed so juicy and pink.

But the second clause doesn’t work as a complete sentence, does it? Example C combines a dependent clause and an independent clause, and they need a comma between them.

I wanted to chew on those lips, which seemed so juicy and pink.

Example B also combines an independent clause and a dependent clause, but these two clauses don’t need a comma between them.

independent clause: He surprised me

dependent clause: when he sustained eye contact and circled his lips with his tongue.

complete sentence: He surprised me when he sustained eye contact and circled his lips with his tongue.

What’s the difference between Example B’s dependent clause and Example C’s dependent clause? Why does one need a comma and not the other?

B. He surprised me when he sustained eye contact and circled his lips with his tongue.
C. I wanted to chew on those lips, which seemed so juicy and pink.

In Example B, the dependent clause changes the meaning of the sentence. Trevor didn’t just surprise the narrator in general. Trevor surprised the narrator by sustaining eye contact and circling his lips with his tongue. This dependent clause is restrictive. It restricts the meaning of the sentence. With restrictive dependent clauses, you don’t need a comma.

By contrast, the dependent clause in Example C simply adds description. It’s nonrestrictive. Take it away, and the meaning of the sentence remains the same. The narrator wants to chew Trevor’s lips. And by the way–not that it changes things at all–those lips seem juicy and pink. With restrictive dependent clauses, you need a comma.

Here are a few more examples:

nonrestrictive dependent clause—needs commas: His eyes, when they sustained contact with mine, surprised me.

restrictive dependent clause—no comma needed: I wanted to chew on the parts of him that seemed juicy and pink.

nonrestrictive dependent clause—needs a comma: I touched Trevor’s knee, which got his attention.

restrictive dependent clause—no comma needed: Trevor’s knee wasn’t the part of him that I really wanted to touch.

At Sexy Grammar, we teach writers to create tight, juicy, scantily clad sentences, and we combine sexually explicit examples with grammar instruction. You can be a sexy writer, and we can teach you how.

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When Nelly Caught Ginny: Phrases, Clauses, and Complete Sentences

Which of these sentences sounds complete to you?

A. Through the drawer of vibrators.
B. Ginny loved it.
C. Playing with other people’s toys.
D. Nelly didn’t mind.

Examples B & D are complete sentences. Examples A and C are fragment sentences. Do you know how to tell the difference?

A complete sentence needs two basic parts of speech: a noun (the subject) and a verb.

That’s why on its own, example A is just a fragment sentence. The drawer and the vibrators give you some nouns to work with, but you’ve got no verb–just a phrase. A phrase does not have both subject and verb. On it’s own, a phrase is just a fragment sentence. Below, it is a phrase in a complete sentence.

Ginny pawed through the drawer of vibrators.

As part of the complete sentence below, example C is a phrase too.

Ginny loved playing with other people’s toys.

Unlike phrases, clauses do have both a subject and a verb.

E. When Nelly caught Ginny.

F. Ginny looked so hot.

But just because a clause has both a subject and a verb doesn’t mean it can stand on its own as a complete sentence. Which of the clauses above do you think is a fragment sentence, and which is a complete sentence?

Example E doesn’t quite make sense on its own. We’re waiting to hear what happened when Nelly caught Ginny. The thought is incomplete, a sentence fragment. But as part of the complete sentence below, we call it a dependent clause.

When Nelly caught Ginny, she didn’t mind.

Example F stands on its own. It’s got a subject, Ginny, and a verb, looked, and the thought’s completed. It’s an independent clause, and it can be a complete sentence on its own.

Still, it’s okay to combine independent clauses with other clauses and phrases to make more interesting and complicated complete sentences.

Ginny looked so hot jerking off.

Ginny looked so hot with Nelly’s vibrator.

Ginny looked so hot that Nelly didn’t mind her playing with other people’s toys.

At Sexy Grammar, we teach writers to create tight, juicy, scantily clad sentences and stories that climax. We incite sexy, bold, free writers. And we combine sexually explicit examples with grammar instruction. You can be a sexy writer, and we can teach you how. We believe that sexy writing is clear, concise, and packed with the delicious, descriptive words that make us all love the art of writing.

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Eroica’s Erotica, Episode 7: Comma Splice

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Here’s an example of how to use your solid understanding of compound and complex sentence structures to fix another problematic sentence, the comma splice:

Eroica and I read the sex scenes to each other for hours, the teasing was excruciating. Continue reading

Eroica’s Erotica, Episode 5: Sentences With Complex Predicates

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Don’t confuse compound sentences, in which both independent clauses have their own subject, with sentences that have complex predicates, in which the second verb phrase shares the main subject of the sentence with the first and no comma is needed.

I cleared my throat and parted my lips. Continue reading

Eroica’s Erotica, Episode 4: Compound Sentences

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Once you’ve got a handle on how to recognize fragments and complete sentences, you can start playing with the infinite possibilities for organizing a complete sentence.

Using conjunctions and commas, you can combine elements of a sentence to create compound sentences.

I wanted to read something sexy back to her, so I took the dog-eared book from Eroica.

This is an excellent example of a compound sentence.  There are two complete, independent clauses here—sentences in their own right, with subjects and predicates of their own. Continue reading