Making Choices About Sentence Boundaries

In every paragraph we write, we make choices about sentence boundaries: Where will we place a period and start a new sentence? Where might we consider using semicolons to connect related independent clauses? Where will we join ideas together in a compound sentence? In this week’s grammar discussion, along with your peers, you will think about these questions in relation to your own writing.  Post a paragraph of writing you have done recently. This could be a draft of a paragraph from your Issue Exploration assignment, writing you did for another discussion post, or something else. Identify at least one sentence boundary choice you made, and comment on the reasons for that choice and possible alternatives. Example of an initial post: When I was seventeen years old and a senior in high school, I had an experience that deeply affected my learning for many years to come: I failed a paper for the first time. Okay, I didn’t exactly fail, but I got a D, which felt like failing. The grade was unexpected, it affected me like a slap in the face. It was only through the encouragement of the very teacher who gave me the D that I was able to persevere with a more determined attitude than ever. This article is about proposed changes to school start times. Currently, high school students start earliest; under the proposed changes, elementary school students would start earliest and high school students would start latest. The reason the school board has for proposing this change is that a later school schedule is more consistent with teens’  natural sleep patterns, however starting later means that they would be in school later, which could be problematic for sports and after-school jobs. I made a choice to use a semicolon after “Currently, high school students start earliest.” I did that because the next sentence provides a direct contrast by stating what would happen under the proposed changes. The semicolon shows that the two independent clauses are closely related. I could have used a period instead, which would look like this: “Currently, high school students start earliest. Under the proposed changes, elementary school students would start earliest and high school students would start latest.” I think this alternative is okay, but I prefer keeping the two related ideas more closely connected.

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