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Knowledge and Skills Statement

Composition: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple texts--writing process. The student uses the writing process recursively to compose multiple texts that are legible and uses appropriate conventions.

Task students with identifying sentences in a text they are currently reading that has complex sentences with errors in them. Have students rewrite the sentences correctly. Then, have students identify sentences in a draft of their own writing that can be combined into complex sentences.

Further Explanation

In this assessment, students are required to write complex sentences that have two ideas (clauses) joined by a subordinating conjunction. Ample opportunities should be provided for students review their writing drafts, evaluating complex sentences for correctness and making necessary changes to improve the quality of their writing.

Writing complex sentences requires students to take two complete ideas and make one dependent on the other based on their logical relationship. When students write sentences that include multiple clauses, they must be aware of the various ways to properly connect logically related ideas. For example, when editing their papers, students should recognize that if they have included a comma splice in their writing (e.g., “The game went into overtime, I was too excited to sleep.”) they can often correct the sentence by adding a subordinating conjunction to the beginning of the sentence (“Although the game went into overtime, I was too excited to sleep”). This avoids the comma splice and reinforces the relationship between the ideas. Students should also be mindful that a subordinate clause cannot stand on its own. “Although the game went into overtime” is not a complete thought.
Students will write sentences that have two ideas (clauses) joined by a subordinating conjunction, making one idea dependent on the other because it cannot longer stand on its own. Students should understand that in complex sentences, the dependent clause (the idea that contains the subordinating conjunction) can come before or after the independent clause. For example, “While I worked on the outline, my lab partner gathered supplies” and “My lab partner gathered supplies while I worked on the outline” are both acceptable ways to write this complex sentence.
During the editing stage of the writing process, students further improve their drafts and often prepare them for publishing by correcting conventions errors. Applying standard rules of the English language correctly helps the audience to easily understand the information by not having to interrupt their thinking to decide what the writer intended to say.
an incorrect sentence structure that occurs when a sentence is incomplete, sometimes because it is missing a subject or predicate (e.g., “Some dogs in my house”)
a grammatically incorrect sentence structure that occurs when two or more independent clauses are joined without an appropriate conjunction or punctuation (e.g., “They went to the store we were out of milk.”)
a grammatically incorrect sentence structure that occurs when a comma alone without a conjunction is used to join two independent clauses (e.g., “The class is going to the museum, I plan to join them.”) These are commonly referred to as comma splices and are a subset of run-on sentences.
standard rules of the English language, including written mechanics such as punctuation, capitalization, spelling, paragraphing, etc. and written/oral grammar such as parts of speech, word order, subject-verb agreement, and sentence structure
the grammatical state of a sentence when the subject and verb match in number (singular or plural) and/or person (first person, second person, or third person)


Composition Writing Studio. Common writing assignments. University of Purdue’s Online Writing Lab. Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/05/ 

Summary: This online resource offers a complete overview of the writing processes, genres, mechanics, and components involved in each. The overview includes definition of terms, examples, graphs and charts as appropriate, and additional resources.