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  1. #1
    Dave Guest

    Default Sentence Diagramming Trouble

    I'm trying to diagram the following sentence:

    "If work gets slow for me, for example the entire month of January where I wasn't doing anything at all, we still get by just fine."

    The part beginning with "for example" is causing me the problem. I'm just not sure what to do with it. I'm thinking that it's a prepositional phrase modifying work with a noun clause as the object but that doesn't quite work. I'm missing something. Suggestions? Thanks!
    Dave

  2. #2
    iamdave is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Sentence Diagramming Trouble

    Let me back up here. This is actually an independent clause from a larger sentence that I'm diagramming as part of some friendly chiding back and forth between myself and some friends. I wrote the following sentence in a forum:

    Freelance was fine when I was single and in college and is still fine now that I'm out of college, married and my wife works too because we don't have any kids so if work gets slow for me, e.g. the entire month of January where I wasn't doing anything at all, we still get by just fine because she makes a fair amount of money but we want to start moving toward a situation where she can quit and we can think about having a kid, which means I need a dependable, steady income.
    I was given some friendly ribbing over it being grammatically incorrect, largely because grammar errors are out of character for me, and I set out to prove that it was not a run-on and was, in fact, correct, however poorly worded it might have been. My position was that those were six independent clauses joined by conjunctions and thus it was not a run-on. Incredibly awkward, but not a run-on. However, I'm growing less sure of this position. What do you guys think? Am I going to have to admit defeat?

  3. #3
    Soup's Avatar
    Soup is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Sentence Diagramming Trouble

    Hi Dave

    Well, the thing is, if you're not going to use punctuation--unless it's needed for clarity; e.g., college, married, then don't bother with the commas at all; e.g., for me, e.g. the entire month of January).

    Use parenthesis; e.g., for me (e.g. the entire month ...) or use a semi-colon followed by a comma (for me; e.g., the entire month of January):
    Freelance was fine when I was single and in college and is still fine now that I'm out of college, married and my wife works too because we don't have any kids so if work gets slow for me; e.g., the entire month of January where I wasn't doing anything at all, we still get by just fine because she makes a fair amount of money but we want to start moving toward a situation where she can quit and we can think about having a kid, which means I need a dependable, steady income.

  4. #4
    iamdave is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Sentence Diagramming Trouble

    Yeah, that makes sense. If I had it to do over again I'd probably just break it up into separate sentences but the debate now is whether or not it's a run-on sentence the way that it is. Would you say that without said punctuation it is definitely a run-on sentence? Do the conjunctions themselves not suffice?

  5. #5
    graphich is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Sentence Diagramming Trouble

    It's not a run on sentence, and there are no significant grammatical errors. I agree with Soup that the parenthetical phrase would be better separated with parenthesis than with commas, but that's a matter of style. The fact that this phrase is modified by an adjective clause does not make it an independent clause.

    BTW, there's only one conjunction in the sentence, "if". The prepositional phrase "for example" is a disjunctive adverb. The noun "January" is an appositive of "example".

    Your original example is essentially a zero conditional separated by a long disjunctive adverbial phrase.

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