Be on your guard, citizen, for these scoundrels are the sworn enemies of correct grammar! The Sabotage Squad, also known as grammar mistakes, is a rotten bunch of supervillains who are on an evil mission to destroy all correct sentences.
Each member of the Sabotage Squad is armed with evil powers that can be used to trick, fool, and deceive you into making a grammar mistake, and each one of these outlaws is an expert at wrecking sentences.
SO, CITIZEN, NEVER MAKE THE MISTAKE OF UNDERESTIMATING THE TRICKERY OF THE SABOTAGE SQUAD, BECAUSE WHEN IT COMES TO BREAKING THE RULES OF GRAMMAR — THERE'S NOBODY WORSE.
EVIL POWER: DOUBLE NEGATIVE HAS THE POWER TO MAKE YOU SAY THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU MEAN.
They say that two negatives equal a positive — and this is true — but these two tricksters equal nothing but trouble for your sentences. Double Negative are members of the Sabotage Squad, and these troublesome twins are always trying to trick you into making a gigantic grammar mistake.
One negative word in a sentence is fine, but if Double Negative gets you to use two negative words in the same sentence then they’ve succeeded in tricking you into saying the exact opposite of what you mean.
Here’s an example:
I’m no villain.
This sentence says that I am not a villain. This sentence is clear because it only has one negative word: “no.” But watch what happens when we add a second negative word, like this:
I’m not no villain.
This sentence is now saying that I am a villain. It might sound like this sentence is saying that I’m not a villain, but the second negative word is making the sentence mean the opposite of the first sentence, because, if I’m not no villain, then I must be a villain.
no villain = no villain
not no villain = yes villain
There’s a way to strengthen your defenses against double negatives: Learn about negative words. If you learn to recognize and understand negative words, you’ll double your protection against double negatives.
So, citizen, if you see two negative words in the same sentence — think twice — because it just might be Double Negative trying to trick you with their double-dealing double talk!
EVIL POWER: THE FRAGMENT HAS THE POWER TO FRAGMENT YOUR SENTENCES SO THAT THEY'RE INCOMPLETE AND INCORRECT.
The sentence Fragment is a weak and crumbly bad guy, and as a member of the Sabotage Squad, there’s nothing that he enjoys more than breaking up the strength and stability of your sentences. The Fragment does this by fragmenting your sentences so that they’re not complete.
Here’s an example:
Disappeared into thin air.
This sentence is a fragment because (even though it has a predicate) it’s missing a subject.
Without a subject we don’t know what disappeared into thin air. The only way to fix this broken sentence is by adding a subject, like this:
The thief disappeared into thin air.
By adding a subject, “The thief,” the sentence is now complete.
As you saw earlier with the Completion Team, true sentences need both a subject and a predicate in order to be strong and complete. If a sentence is missing its subject or predicate, then it’s not really a complete sentence because it’s only half complete, or in other words, it’s only a fragment of a sentence.
This cracked supervillain, the Fragment, really loves a fractured sentence, but in the end he is no match for the combined strength of the Completion Team. The Subject and the Predicate are the two superheroes that make up this powerful team, and as long as you keep them teamed up with each other, the Fragment doesn’t stand a chance.
So remember, citizen, if you don’t want your sentences to crumble and fall apart just like the Fragment does — never let him break up the team!
EVIL POWER: THE RUN-ON MAKES YOUR SENTENCES RUN INTO EACH OTHER WITHOUT ANY PUNCTUATION. AFTER HE'S FINISHED, YOU'LL HAVE EXTRA LONG SENTENCES THAT RUN ON, AND ON, AND ON.
The Run-on is a member of the Sabotage Squad, and this reckless runner is always trying to pull a fast one on your sentences. Complete sentences can’t just run on into each other to form extended sentences — but that’s the problem with the Run-on. This hasty villain makes your first sentence run right past your punctuation and straight into the next sentence.
Here’s an example:
I see you I have night vision.
This is a run-on sentence: two complete sentences running into each other without proper punctuation.
Complete sentences must either be ended with proper sentence-ending punctuation, like this:
I see you. I have night vision.
Or they must be properly joined together by using the combination of a comma with a coordinating conjunction or by using a semicolon, whichever is more appropriate. In this case, a semicolon (;) is the better choice:
I see you; I have night vision.
Sometimes sentences need to be long and sometimes sentences need to be short, but long or short, every sentence always needs proper punctuation.
Without proper punctuation, your sentences will all run into each other, and that will only lead to extra long sentences that never seem to stop.
So, citizen, always remember to use the power of punctuation in all of your sentences. If you do that, you’ll always be able to stop the Run-on in his tracks!
THE COMMA SPLICE!
EVIL POWER: THE COMMA SPLICE HAS THE POWER TO FOOL YOU INTO THINKING THAT SHE CAN JOIN TOGETHER TWO COMPLETE SENTENCES.
Beware, citizen, for this is not really the Comma! This imposter is the Comma Splice, and as a sinister member of the Sabotage Squad, this counterfeit comma is out to fool you into making a classic grammar mistake: splicing together complete sentences.
Real commas are useful and powerful pieces of punctuation, but they don’t have the power to join two complete sentences together. That’s why true commas would never try to do such a thing. But the Comma Splice is on a mission to trick you into thinking that she has the power to join complete sentences.
Here’s an example:
They need help, I must fly to the rescue.
This sentence is not correct. It’s a comma splice: a fake comma that is incorrectly splicing, or patching, together two complete sentences.
Complete sentences cannot be correctly joined together by a single comma. In order to be joined correctly, complete sentences must either be: 1) ended with proper sentence-ending punctuation, 2) properly joined together by using the combination of a comma with a coordinating conjunction, or 3) joined together using a semicolon.
To fix this sentence, we’ll use a semicolon, like this:
They need help; I must fly to the rescue.
So, citizen, now that you know about this counterfeit comma, the Comma Splice, don’t let her fool you into splicing your sentences together; because in the end, no matter how you splice it — it’s still a mistake!
EVIL POWER: THE DISAGREEMENT HAS THE POWER TO BLOCK THE TEAMWORK BETWEEN THE SUBJECT AND THE VERB OF A SENTENCE AND CAUSE THEM TO DISAGREE ON THEIR NUMBERS.
Every hero knows that sentences work better with teamwork, but this obnoxious character begs to differ. His name is the Disagreement, and as a super sour member of the Sabotage Squad, he much prefers conflict, contradiction, and confusion in your sentences. And that’s why the Disagreement is constantly working to break up the teamwork between the subject and verb of a sentence.
Here’s an example:
Our hero are powerful.
The sentence above is wrong. The Disagreement has blocked the teamwork between the subject and the verb so that their numbers (singular or plural) do not agree.
The subject of the sentence, “hero,” is singular, but the verb, “are,” is plural. The only way to fix this problem is by having the subject and the verb agree on their numbers.
For example, if our sentence has a singular subject, “hero,” then it should have a singular verb, “is.”
Our hero is powerful.
And, if our sentence has a plural subject, “heroes,” then it should have a plural verb, “are.”
Our heroes are powerful.
Now that the subject and verb of each sentence agree, each sentence, aside from making sense, is now correct.
An important part of the subject and verb’s teamwork is agreeing on their numbers.
So, citizen, never forget that teamwork is the secret weapon, and this should be something that we can all agree on. Well, all of us except for the Disagreement.