Clauses, Commas, and Semicolons for TECM majors at the University of North Texas

This course will teach TECM majors at UNT how to use clauses, commas, and semicolons correctly. The course will cover clauses, commas, and semicolons- in that order. You will be quizzed over what you have learned in the course- so pay attention.

We will discuss three types of clauses

Main Clauses

Main Clauses = Subject + Verb

Examples

TECM students write papers

Construction workers are noisy.

Subordinate Clauses

Theses include main clauses, but there's a catch. They also include a subordinate conjunction.

Subordinate conjunction = but, and, if, whenever, etc.

Examples

Students take TECM classes, because they want a degree.

If I forget my umbrella, I will be very wet.

Relative Clause

Relative clauses, which can be tricky for TECM students, also include main clauses. 

Relative clauses begin with a relative pronoun or adverb. eg who, where, which, that.

Examples

The students that were late got in trouble.

Collen, who was late to class, got in trouble.


What type of clause is the following?

The student who danced in the hall was praised.

  • Main
  • Subordinate
  • Relative

What type of clause is the following?

The student is dancing in the hall.

  • Main
  • Subordinate
  • Relative

What type of clause is the following?

When students dance in the hall, they are rewarded.

  • Main
  • Subordinate
  • Relative

Three comma rules for UNT students

Two Independent clauses

Use a comma when two main clauses are connected by and, if, or, but, etc.

Examples

I went to class, but I forgot my backpack.

The computer was on, but the screen was dark.

Two short independent clauses

Write short clauses and you won't need commas.

Examples

He ran and he jumped.

She was late but the class was cancelled.

Same subject = no commas

If you have one subject but two verbs, you won't need a comma.

Examples

He wrote the project in Word then emailed the professor.

She turned on the computer and logged in.

Two independent clauses - quiz

I have gone to class and seen the light.

  • Correct
  • Incorrect

Two short independent clauses - quiz

I have gone to class, but the teacher was not there.

  • Correct
  • Incorrect

Same subject = no commas - quiz

She worked and he studied.

  • Correct
  • Incorrect

Two semicolon rules for UNT students

Two main clauses; no conjunction

Use a semicolon if your sentence meets these two conditions:

  • Two independent clauses
  • No conjunction (and, but, if) between them.

Examples

UNT students write two main clauses; they forget to include a conjunction.

He walked to class; he didn't ride his bike.


Break up big parts of small things

Use a semicolon to divide lists of things that have commas already.

Examples

Students come to UNT from Dallas, TX; Boston, MA; and Albany, NY.

The website went over commas, with questions; clauses, with definitions; and semicolons, with examples.


Two main clauses; no conjuction

He went to the store; but forgot his wallet.

  • Correct
  • Incorrect

Break up big parts of small things

He ate some broccoli, with cheese; steak, with A1 sauce; and cake, with icecream.

  • Correct
  • Incorrect

Summary

Lastly

This is only the beginning. By finishing this course, you have only touched the surface of grammar rules. Hopefully you have enjoyed learning and will use these rules in your UNT career.

Sources:

https://data.grammarbook.com/blog/commas/how-to-punctuate-between-sentences-using-commas-semicolons-and-colons/

http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/clause.htm

http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-colons-and-semicolons-in-sentences.html