Saturday, November 14, 2015

Reading Your Essays, Frustration Arose

My student began his essay with this:  "Nearing the end of summer vacation, it was the time when exchange students bid farewell to their colleagues."

The sentence gave me a pause.  It seemed awkward.  I suggested that he change it to, "It was nearing the end of summer vacation, a time when exchange students bid farewell to their colleagues."

Image result for lucy you got some splainin to doIn the next paragraph, I found, "Starting out as lab partners, our pair-up had resulted in winning several competitions."  Several paragraphs down, "Glancing at his startled face, humiliation and rage built up in me."

I knew there was a problem!  This student, and oh so many others, need to know the "participial phrase rule."  To quote Strunk and White,  

Rule #11) A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject.

Who started as lab partners?  The author should say "we" - not "our pair-up."
Who glanced at his startled face?  The author should follow the comma with "I."

Suggested Changes:
  • Starting out as lab partners, we had gone on to win several major competitions.
  • Glancing at his startled face, I felt my humiliation and rage build up."

Here's a great blog called "Grammar Tip of the Daywith more examples.

Rewrite the title of this blog.

Reading your essays, I felt frustrated.

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