Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Editing Ninja Strikes on Saturday: FANBOYS

The Editing Ninja took an unplanned leave of absence of late (i.e., my home improvement project has been kicking my ass).

As promised, here is the scoop on the FANBOYS, otherwise known as coordinating conjunctions, otherwise known as those wonderful things with which you can join two complete sentences (or independent clauses) into one sentence without any nasty comma splicing*.

So for this quick and easy recipe, you need two complete thoughts (sentences or independent clauses):

Mom started the car.
The kids scrambled into the back seat.

and a FANBOYS (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So).

In this example, and would work nicely.

Mom started the car, and the kids scrambled into the back seat.

Evidently, Mom was going to leave without the kids. Notice how it reads differently if you invert sentence order:

The kids scrambled into the back seat, and Mom started the car.

Did you see the comma? Yes, when joining independent clauses with FANBOYS, you must place a comma before the conjunction.

Simple? Sure. The FANBOYS can do other things, too, but today we'll stick with the clauses.

*a comma splice is when two clauses are joined together with a comma and no conjunction. It's like suturing with garden twine. Don't do it.


Anthony Rapino said...

Hey, I never heard of "FANBOYS." Good one.

Aaron Polson said...

It keeps them away from all those "dirty" subordinate conjunctions. ;)

Cate Gardner said...

Excellent advice. (And I suspect many mothers try to drive off and leave the kids behind) :D

Cindy Little said...

Thanks for the grammar lesson! I can always use those.