Columbia College Academic Skills Center Blog

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Student forum

All right.  This is the place where you give us your feedback on the ASC.  What do you like about it?  What can we improve to serve you better?  Respond to our questions or to each other’s comments.  Think of it as being like a Greek forum, only in English and on the web.  So really, not like a Greek forum at all.

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2 Responses to “Student forum”

  1. Jen Vance said

    I have a question. What is the best way to avoid sentence fragments? Are there any tips or hints that are useful or helpful to other people? And how do you do a work cited page for mla format? Look forward to your replies.

  2. DeAnna Ellis said

    Really, the best way to avoid a sentence fragment is to understand the functions of the parts of speech; we would love to help you learn this information in the ASC. However, if you aren’t madly in love with sentence structure, there is hope for you.

    First, you want to make sure that you have a subject (typically a person or a thing) that is performing some sort of action and a verb (the action).

    Ex: The children ate. “Children” is the subject and “ate” is the verb–instant simple sentence!

    Of course, sentence fragments are trickier than this subject and verb stuff. Even if you have a subject and a verb you may not have a sentence. There are these pesky things called “subordinating conjunctions” that turn your lovely sentence in to a fragment.

    Yeah, “subordinating conjunction” is a scary phrase that means nothing to most people. Basically, subordinating conjunctions are words like “while” and “whereas” that turn an independent clause (a clause that is a sentence by itself) into a dependent clause (a clause that depends on an independent clause to form a sentence). Here is a link to a list of subordinating conjunctions: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/conjunctions.htm.
    (Though all of the information on the page is useful, the subordinating conjunctions are about 3/4 the way down.)

    For example, when you add the subordinating conjunction “while” to your sentence “The children ate,” you are left with “While the children ate,” which is NOT a sentence.

    To make the dependent clause “While the children ate” a sentence, you have to join it with an independent clause such as “They watched cartoons” AND a COMMA. Now your sentence is “While the children ate, they watched cartoons.”

    I hope that this oversimplified answer to your question was helpful. If you have any other questions or if my explanation was unclear, please send another question or a request for clarification my way! You can always drop in at the ASC if you have questions.

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