FANBOY I think I will take mine about 6' 2", 190lbs (all muscle of course), shaggy black hair, and... oh we're not talking about those?

Unfortunately, no.  FANBOY is a mnemonic device to help identify conjunctions and is used with compound sentences.  And what is a compound sentence?  It's when you use a conjunction to join two independent clauses... in a nutshell.  And it is used very frequently in writing.

The breakout:
Examples first:

"He went to the bathroom, and he brushed his teeth."
"He went to the kitchen and took out a green bowl."
Both of these sentences use and.  Only the first is a compound sentence (as defined above).

The first sentence joins the two independent clauses of:  "He went to the bathroom"  and "He brushed his teeth."  An independent clause has a subject and a predicate.  If you were to replace the 'and' in this sentence with a period, it would form two sentences.

In simple speak, that means each part of the sentence, before and after the conjunction forms its own sentence.

If you were to replace the 'and' in the second sentence, you would not have two separate sentences.  You would have one sentence: "He went to the kitchen." and an incomplete sentence "Took out a green bowl."

So what's this leading to?

Comma placement in a compound sentence -- frequently omitted or placed incorrectly.

If you have a compound sentence the sentence demands a comma before the conjunction.  Not after the conjunction as a lot of us feel like it should read. Before.  Always before.  And I cannot count the number of times it is mixed up.  It's often mixed up more than it is omitted.

Quick Recap:

Check your manuscript for the instance of FANBOY words.  Each time you encounter one, check to see if the part before the conjunction and the part after form two separate sentences.  If they do, put a comma before the conjunction (where you would normally put the sentence terminator.)  If they do not form two separate sentences, do not insert a comma.

See you next week!


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1 Response so far.

  1. Great information! Keep up the great work, and please post more.

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