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SAT

Unit 11: Lesson 3

Writing: Grammar

Writing: Sentence boundaries — Example 2

Watch Sal work through a harder sentence boundaries question from the SAT Writing and Language Test..

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  • purple pi purple style avatar for user bherold6
    When should I use a semi colon or even a colon?
    (18 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Mazen Mohammed
    Shouldn't after a comma come the FANBOYS mnemonic?
    (12 votes)
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  • marcimus pink style avatar for user daniya.king494
    the second sentence was a dependent clause, dont we use semi-colon for that?
    (4 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user étudiant
    I thought the grammar section taught, the word THAT was the proper word not WHICH. Is that not correct? I am confused. Why did he choose it?
    (4 votes)
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  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Saad Haroon
    where can i find videos on how to use comas and semi-colons etc?
    (1 vote)
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  • stelly yellow style avatar for user Prajna Ray
    In a question like this
    " In response to fears of _ fire, the children rushed out".
    in the above sentence in the blank is it correct to use the article "a" or should "no article" be used?
    (1 vote)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Hecretary Bird
      It depends. We don't use articles when we talk about uncountable nouns, or them in general. If the children were rushing out in the fear of fire, but not any specific fire, then there shouldn't be an article.
      However, from context, the fear of fire in general doesn't cause people to run out of a room, but the fear of a specific fire would. For this reason, in the sentence you provided we'd use "a".
      If you were introducing the fire to the story for the first time, you'd use "a", but if you were referring to this specific fire, you'd use the definite article "the" before fire instead.
      (3 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Sabrina
    how can we put a comma before which? Is that even possible
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Andy Huynh
    For this example, why was a comma used before the word "while"? I thought that you typically do not use a comma before subordinating conjunction that connects a dependent clause to an independent clause.
    (2 votes)
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  • aqualine seedling style avatar for user sarthak pant
    When do you use a semicolon
    (1 vote)
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    • leaf red style avatar for user dynamic
      Taking this from AyoSeven's answer above, as it explains it well.
      "Colon can be used to:
      1) denote a list
      e.g. I went to the store to buy: shiny, juicy oranges; ripe, delicious pears and big, green watermelons.
      2) to expand on a previous idea
      e.g. My sister doesn't like swimming when it is cold: the weather makes her feel nauseous."
      (2 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user omdobariya88
    I think that there was no need of having comma between the words 'tree' and 'which'. Ain't I right?
    (1 vote)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Hecretary Bird
      The "which" and words following it form what we call a nonrestrictive clause, which is to say that they add meaning that is nonessential to understanding the meat of the sentence (you don't have to know that the tree was developed by Mr. Castro). Because nonrestrictive clauses are nonessential, we seperate them from the rest of the sentence with a comma (or a comma on each side if they're in the middle of the sentence).
      For the SAT, all you need to know is clauses with "that" are essential and don't need a comma, and clauses with "which" are nonessential and do need a comma.
      (2 votes)

Video transcript

- [Instructor] In response to fears of a chocolate shortage, farmers are looking to a high-yielding variety of cocoa tree, which was developed by Ecuadorian agronomist Homero Castro. So this was a bit strange that we end a sentence, and then we start a sentence with which was developed by Ecuadorian agronomist Homero Castro, because this right by itself, this isn't a sentence. This isn't a sentence by itself. This feels like this which is referring, it's giving us more, more explanation of this high-yielding variety of cocoa tree, so I definitely don't want to separate it as a separate sentence, so I'm gonna change it, so I'm gonna scratch out no change, so let's look at this choice. So this says farmers are looking to a high-yielding variety of cocoa tree, comma, which was developed by Ecuadorian agronomist Homero Castro. So this one feels quite good. I would use a comma and just go straight to the which. So this one looks right, so let's look at the other choices. Farmers are looking to a high-yielding variety of cocoa tree, and that tree was developed by Ecuadorian agronomist Homero Castro. Well this is just unnecessarily wordy. We're using the word tree twice, so I don't like that one. And then this last choice is just like the second choice, but instead of a comma, we have a semicolon. And the reason why I like a comma more than a semicolon, I imagine I've used semicolon, the separating two clauses, that can almost stand on themselves, and in fact, sometimes, they can stand on themselves, but there's a semicolon to kind of show that they are related. While a comma is, for the most part, separating clauses that can't stand, the first one can stand on by themselves. In response to fears of a chocolate shortage, farmers are looking to a high-yielding variety of cocoa tree, that can stand by itself, but the second clause has trouble standing by itself. In fact, it can't stand as a sentence, which was developed by Ecuadorian agronomist Homero Castro, so I feel good about the comma right over here, and you know, you don't need to over complicate things if the simpler tool works.