Comma Causers - Highland Park Middle School

Comma Causers
Many Comma Rules…
• Opener , sentence (independent clause).
• an “opener” could be many possibilities:
– single words
• interjections (Hey, Look, Um, etc.)
• mild exclamations (Yes, No, Well, etc.)
• time transitions (Later, Finally, During, etc.)
– phrases
• prepositional (Near the house, Around lunch time,
• participial (Running for his life, Closing in, etc.)
– subordinate clauses (Because I’m allergic to
fish, Whenever I get in trouble, etc.)
Our Focus for this Lesson
• subordinate clauses
• definition: a subordinate clause, or dependent
clause, has a subject and a verb but it cannot
stand alone as a complete thought.
• example: When I saw the woman, she reminded
me of a bird. Though her hair was white with
age, she walked with small, quick, lively steps
(Yep 13). — from The Star Fisher
– “When I saw the woman” cannot stand alone as a
complete sentence or thought.
– “Though her hair was white with age” cannot stand
alone as a complete sentence or thought.
What To Remember
• AAAWWUBBIS (Umm, an aaa-what-is?)
• AAAWWUBBIS is a mnemonic, a strategy that increases
retention when studying
– An Alligator And Walrus Went Under Bees’ Boots In Shame.
– Andy Always Argues With Walter Using Billy’s Brother In Secret.
• AAAWWUBBIS stands for the ten most common
subordinating conjunctions used to open sentences
• After, Although, As, When/Whenever, While, Until, Because, Before,
If, Since
• there are others based on different functions (time, cause-effect
relationships, opposition, and conditional)
• nuts and bolts: if you begin a sentence with a
subordinate clause, place a comma after the last word of
the subordinate clause
Becoming Good Grammarians
• Crafting good sentences—good writing—
can come from imitating published
authors, modeling your style after theirs.
– Is this plagiarism?
– What would be plagiarism?
• Research suggests that struggling writers
who imitate sentence design perform
better and learn grammar skills better.
Teen Fiction as Models
• From Taken by Edward Bloor:
“Since those days, Mickie has gone global as the new host of the
Living with . . . series breakdown” (Bloor 36). (cause-effect
• From The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas:
“While we welcome your suggestions for possible patron saints,
please recall that . . . generally there is a five-year postmortem
waiting period before we can start the beatification process” (Freitas
148). (opposition function)
• From Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin:
“If she isn’t going to get totally behind, she calculates that she will
probably need at least twenty-four eternims a day, or two hours,
which amounts to five minutes every one hour of real life (Zevin 93).
(conditional function)
• From Gym Candy by Carl Deuker:
“After what seemed like six hours but was only sixty minutes, Peter
stopped” (Deuker 122). (time function)
Handout and Assignment
• The handout coming around now is a helper
guide, and it goes on page 14 of your journal
(Grammar section).
• The worksheet is due tomorrow:
– 10 sentences of entering in commas where needed.
– 10 sentences of modeling and individual practice.
• You will find 3 models in your current free-reading novel.
• You will also compose 7 original sentences using different
subordinate conjunctions.
– You can “model” your original sentences, but you cannot copy
or plagiarize.

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