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Practice with Fanboys

Compound sentences with fanboys

As you know, compound sentences can be connected in one of two ways: 1) with , fanboys or 2) a semicolon (;).  Today, we want to look at the meaning of each word that represents fanboys.  Now remember that fanboys is not an actual word in English; it is just a way for us to remember the words that connect two sentences.

1.F = for.  For means because.  You probably don’t use it much because it is used in formal writing and not speaking.

The futures S & P dropped dramatically yesterday for there was instability in China’s stock market earlier in the day.

  1. A = and. And means in addition. It can be an additional idea, an additional description or an additional time.

I like coke and I like mellow yellow.

John is 6 feet tall and he weighs 280 pounds.

I went to the store and then I went to a gas station.

3.N – nor.  Nor means two ideas that are negative.  Please notice the grammar after nor.

I don’t like Diet Coke nor do I like Coke Zero.

After nor, you need a yes/no question form.  It is not a yes/no question but you need the form of a yes/no question.  Do you remember how to form yes/no questions?

If be (am/is/are/was or were), move to the front.  He is tired. Is he tired?

If two parts to the verb (has gone, have gone, had gone, will go, can go), move the first part of the verb to the front.  He will go to a movie later today.  Will he go to a movie later today?

4.B = but.  But means the opposite.

I like hot weather but I don’t like humid weather.

I like roller skating but I don’t like roller blading.

5.O = or.  Or means a choice.

Do you want a coke or do you want a sprite?

We can go to a movie or we can go to dinner.

6.Y = yet.  Yet means the opposite like but.

I like roller skating yet I don’t like roller blading.

7.S = so.  So means as a result.

I need to get in shape so I try to go to the gym most weekdays.

Exercise.  Now please write a sentence for each word in fanboys.








Identifying Sentence Types

Identifying Sentence Types


In order to determine sentence types, please do the following:

  • Look to see if there is “fanboys.” If there is “fanboys,” then you have a compound or compound-complex sentence.  Then look to see if there is a clause.  If you have a clause, then you have compound-complex.  If you don’t have a clause, you have just compound.
  • If there is NO “fanboys,” then you have simple or complex. Look to see if there is a clause and if there is a clause, you have complex.  If not, you have a simple sentence.


Let’s now do an exercise to help identify sentence types.  Write simple, compound, complex or compound-complex in the space provided. Taken from comedian Rita Rudner.


  1. _____When a man says that he is ready to go out, it means that he is ready to go out.
  2. _____When a woman says that she is ready to go out, it means that she WILL be ready to go out as soon as she finds her earrings, finishes putting on her makeup, etc.
  3. _____ Men see the telephone as a communication tool.
  4. _____ Men use the telephone to send short messages to other people.
  5. _____ A woman can visit her girlfriend for two weeks, and as soon as she returns home, she will call the same friend and talk for three hours.
  6. ______Men are vain; they will always check themselves out in a mirror.
  7. ______Women are ridiculous because they will check out their reflections in any shiny surface (mirrors, spoons, store windows, toasters, a bald man’s head).
  8. ______A man has six items in his bathroom, but the average number of items in the typical woman’s bathroom is 437.
  9. ______Women get lost frequently, but they do ask for directions.


American Humor

Grammar and American Humor


Remember that we want to build team environment and get to know each other.  We also want to learn about American humor.  In the first lesson, we talked about gender stereotypes.  We used those stereotypes to talk about sentence types.  Remember that we said that we have more complex structures in written English in comparison to oral communication. 


How are those stereotypes related to American humor?

There are basically two types of American humor: slapstick/physical comedy and once known as a sarcastic sense of humor.


Slapstick or physical comedy involves comedy using some type of physical action or movement.  Jim Carey movies would be an example of this type of comedy.  I want to focus on the second type of humor because most Americans enjoy this type the most.
To have the second type, we use stereotypes like in gender stereotypes.  We also have other stereotypes.  For example, dumb blondes are considered stupid.  We have the stereotype that girls with blonde hair are dumb, which is why Phoebe in Friends had blonde hair.  For dumb guys, we think they are very handsome and usually athletic like Joey in Friends.  We also think that football players and cheerleaders are not that bright.  See the college exam for football players that was passed around years ago via the internet – http://www.thatwasfunny.com/college-entrance-exam-for-football-players/653


We stereotype when we are creating humor like with Presidents.  Most people consider President Bush as not that bright so the humor related to him is typically about how stupid he is.  The stereotype is typically exaggerated.  See this site to view an example – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ1kTP5EzfI


In the same video, you can see how Clinton was stereotyped.  Most people thought he was very smart.  The stereotype of Clinton was that he was not good with women and lied, so that’s how comedians made fun of him.


So one way to create a sarcastic sense of humor is through stereotypes.  We look again and sentence types.

Another way is to take a common situation and make it bizarre.  We’ll look at this at our next section of grammar: common grammatical problems in written English.

Overview of Grammar Course and Sentence Types

Attached is an explanation of the two goals you should have when looking at the grammar of your writing: discover your individual problems with the grammar of your writing and add sophisticated structures to the grammar of your writing.

Before we look at those goals, we first look at basic sentence structure in English by looking at the sentence types.

Overview of Course

There are two basic goals for this course:

1)To add sophisticated grammatical structures to your writing.  There are some grammatical structures that native writers have in their writing but are missing in an ESL student’s writing.  Unfortunately, students not only don’t have these structures in their writing but they also don’t know what structures to add.  They don’t know what structures are sophisticated.  When I have asked students, they say items like verb tense.

The following structures are considered sophisticated and these structures are the structures we will learn to add to the grammar of your writing.




Inverted order

Sentence structure and variety


2) To identify and fix your individual problems.  Because these individual problems are often minor problems, we will look at this second goal later.

Introducing Ourselves.

I also want to build team environment into the class.  For especially the first few days, we will get to know each other and get to learn about American humor.

With that in mind, we will get in groups and introduce yourself by giving your name, country, major and something unusual about yourself.  For example, I have been to Tajikistan.  Also, I have broken a lot of bones.

Then please discuss gender stereotypes in your groups.  I will use that to show you first sentence types and also American humor.

Most of the sentences you use in explaining stereotypes of men or women are simple sentences.  A few were compound sentences.  Remember that the grammar of oral English is very different from written English.  This class is focused mainly on applying grammar to your written English, so we need to learn the structures that you don’t know or haven’t learned in speaking and apply them to your writing.

For homework, please learn what structures we need to add to the grammar of your writing.

  1. Sentence Structure – SENTENCE TYPES

In this section, we will look at sentence structure: sentence types, sentence variety and parts of speech.  First of all, let’s look at sentence types.  There are four basic sentence types in English. 

  1. The first type is the simple sentence. To be a sentence in English, you need a subject and a verb. For example, women like to shop.  A simple sentence could also contain 2 subjects + 1 verb.  Some women and men like to shop.  A simple sentence could contain 1 subject + 2 verbs.  Some women like to shop and talk a lot.

Here is what a simple sentence would like in simple chart form:

1.Simple sentence

1S + 1V

2S + 1V

1S + 2V

  1. The second sentence type is the compound sentence. A compound sentence is two sentences. In between those two sentences, you can have what many call fanboys.  Fanboys is not a word in English. It is just a simple way to remember the words that connect two sentences; those words are called coordinating conjunctions.
  2. SV , fanboys SV

F – for

A – and

N – nor

B – but

O – or

Y – yet

S – so


If the first sentence is long, we need to put a comma before the fanboys.  What would we consider long?  Typically, if the sentence goes to the second line when typed, we would consider that long and put a comma.  If the first sentence doesn’t go to the second line, we don’t have to put a comma.

  1. In between two sentences, we can also use a semicolon (;). A semicolon means that the two sentences are closely related. However, we don’t like to use semicolons because they prevent us from doing more sophisticated grammar.  As a general rule, use only 1 semicolon per page at the most.


  1. If the sentences aren’t closely related, we can use a semicolon but a transition to connect them. The transition helps logically connect them and the semicolon grammatically connects them. You cannot put just a transition between two sentences. This example is wrong.  For example, men like to watch sports however women don’t like to watch sports.  You need a semicolon after the first sentence.  For example, men like to watch sports; however, women don’t like to watch sports.  After transitions, we always need a comma and that is why there is a comma after however.

Here is the chart for compound sentences

SV  , fanboys SV


SV; transition, SV

  1. The third sentence type is the complex sentence. A complex sentence is a simple sentence plus at least one clause. There are three types of clauses in English: adverb clause, adjective clause and noun clause.

Women love to go to the mall because they like to shop.  The sentence is women love to go to the mall and the clause is because they like to shop.

We will talk in more detail after each type of clause in later chapters.

Here is a chart for complex.

SV + at least one clause

  1. The fourth type of sentence is the compound-complex sentence. A compound sentence is two sentences and the complex is at least one clause. So, a compound-complex sentence contains two sentences + at least one clause.  For example, this sentence is a compound-complex sentence.

Women love to go to the mall and they like to talk about the clothes that they bought after they go shopping.  The two sentences are “Women love to go to the mall and they like to talk about the clothes” and there are also two clauses: that they bought after they go shopping.

We will talk in more detail after each type of clause in later chapters so right now don’t worry about identifying clauses.

Here is a summary for compound-complex:

Two sentences + at least one clause

Now, let’s look at a summary for all 4 sentence types.

  1. Sentence types (356). There are four sentence types: Simple, compound, complex and compound- complex.
  2. Simple                                                         Complex

1S + 1V                                         1 simple sentence + at least one clause (adjective, adverb or noun)

2S + 1V

1S + 2V

  1. Compound                                                Compound-complex

SV  (,fanboys)  SV                                    one compound + at least one clause

SV ; SV                                                          This sentence is two sentences + at least 1 clause

SV; transition, SV

One compound = two sentences

The two sentences can be joined in one of three ways:

With , fanboys

With a semicolon – ;

With a ; transition,

Comparison Basics

Grammar and Comparisons, Basics on as…as

What can go between as…as?

  • As adjective as
  • As adverb as
  • As many plural noun as
  • As much noncount noun as

How do you form this comparison?

You compare two people, two places, two things and then follow these basic rules.

  • Look to see what you are comparing about the two. Let’s say you can comparing two people.

Ex:  My mom is tall.  My dad is very tall.

What are you comparing about the two?  Their height, how tall they are.

  • Look at the grammar of what you are comparing.
    Here you are comparing tall.  What is tall?  It is an adjective. So you can put as tall as because an adjective can go in between.
  • Look to see if they are equal or not.

If they are equal, you can use as…as.

If they are not equal, you need to use the negative form as…as and you need to put the one that is less first.


Which one is less?  My mom is less tall so you would be her first.


My mom isn’t as tall as my dad.

  • Later you can add more vocabulary to it like not nearly as. Please see more advanced handout for those structures.

Let’s do another simple practice.

My dog is crazy.  My brother’s dog is crazy.

1)What do we need to do first?  See what we are comparing.  We are comparing about the two.  We are comparing crazy.

2) Then we need to look at the grammar of that expression.  What part of speech is it?  It is an adjective so we can use as…as.

3) Then we need to see if they are equal or not.  They are equal so we can use as…as. Nothing is less so it doesn’t matter what goes first.

My dog is as crazy as my brother’s dog.

4)In another handout, you can add vocabulary for equal if you want.  You can put just in front of the first as to emphasize that they are equal.

My dog is just as crazy as my brother’s dog.

If you want to do the practice, I am happy to look at it.  Just put your answers in the comment section.


COMBINE using the appropriate as…as structure.

1.Dogs live up to 20 years.  Wolves live up to 15 years.

2.A lion can run 59 miles an hour.  A tiger can run 37 miles an hour.

3.Alligators can be 4.3 meters long.  Crocodiles can be 5.8 meters long.

4.Alligators are typically aggressive.  Crocodiles are typically very aggressive.


Comparison/Contrast structures: As…As


In this section, we will look at some common comparisons.  In writing, comparisons are used in a comparison/contrast paper and they are used in charts/graphs/tables because typically when presenting that information you compare. 

The first comparison is the structure as…as.


Here are the structures that can go between as…as

(not) as adjective/adverb as

(not)as + many plural noun as

(not)as + much noncount noun as

Vocabulary typically added.

To emphasize that they are equal, you can use just as…as.

Ex:The book we use in 300 Grammar is just as good as the book we use in 400 Grammar.

To show that two elements are slightly unequal, you can use

almost/nearly/about/not quite as…as

Ex:  My dad is almost as tall as my brother.

To emphasize a difference, you can use not nearly as

Ex:The roads are not nearly as icy today as they were yesterday.


Let’s practice.  You can choose two of this year’s (2015) Super bowl commercials. http://www.superbowl-commercials.org/

1.as adjective as

2.isn’t adjective as

3.as adverb as

4.as many plural noun as

or .as much noncount noun as

5.just as adjective as

6.nearly as …as

7.not nearly as…as

Note:  Comparisons are one of the structures in grammar that we make parallel.  What is parallelism or parallel structure? It is when the grammar and vocabulary match.

Ex: I am as tall as you. Normally, in spoken English this is what we say but in formal written English we are supposed to make this sentence parallel.

Ex: I am as tall as you are.  Before as…as there was a subject and verb so we are supposed to be a subject and verb after as…as.  Now the grammar is parallel; it matches.

I will do another handout on all parallel structures

Back to the Site

I have been away from this site for months now because I broke both of the major bones in my wrist.  Unfortunately, the break was in my right wrist and I am right-handed.  After a cast and months of physical therapy, I am now thankfully back to 100%.

Sorry for being away for so long and I hope to continue this site.

I hope my former and current students are doing well,


Visit from Mt. Vernon Institute

Our business class that does design thinking had the privilege of hosting a group of high school students from Mt. Vernon Institute.  We got to show them around campus and we spent some time discussing how we might collaborate in the future.

I am looking forward to seeing what we can do together and I am reminded of one of my favorite sayings – “It takes a team to make a dream work.”

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Answers to Earlier Practice for Slang: Emotions

Please do the following matching exercise.  

1.____d_what’s up with that?                                   a.too much work

2.___e__I’m pissed off.                                                 b.tired

3.__f___He’s freaking out.                                         c.little sad

4.__c___I’m bummed out.                                      d.surprised

5._a____I’m swamped.                                               e.angry

6.__b___I’m beat.                                                            f.go crazy in a good or bad way

Slang: Weather Practice

Please answer the following questions about slang related to weather:

How can you say it’s raining a lot?

How can you say it’s raining a little?

How can you say you got really wet because of the rain?

Now answer these questions that are not slang but are related to weather:

What is worse – a tornado or a hurricane?

What is worse – a watch or a warning?

What is hail?

In a thunderstorm you have thunder and lightning.  Which one is the sound in a thunderstorm?

Which one is the light you see?

Don’t forget:  If you plan to live in a city in the US, make sure you know what dangerous weather they may have and what you should do to keep yourself safe.





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