Friday, September 23, 2011

The Interrupter

The Interrupter
Recognize an interrupter
when you see one.
An interrupter is a word,
phrase, or clause that
significantly breaks the
flow of a sentence .
Read the examples that
follow:
Please take those
smelly socks to
the garage, Kris,
and put them in
the washing
machine.
My essay, to be
perfectly honest,
flew out of the
bus window while
I was riding to
school.
What you just ate,
if you must
know, was squid
eyeball stew.
Punctuate an interrupter
correctly.
Generally, you separate
an interrupter from the
rest of the sentence
with commas— one in
front of the interrupter
and one behind. The
pattern looks like this:
the first part of
the sentence + ,
+ interrupter + ,
+ the rest of the
sentence .
Check out these
examples:
Jerome's calculus
teacher is usually
a real slave driver.
Tonight ,
surprisingly,
Jerome has only
fifty problems to
solve as
homework.
My cat Fuzz loves
to curl up on my
lap and sleep.
Buster, on the
other hand,
prefers to use my
thigh as a
scratching post.
The bathroom
tiles , whenever
time permits,
require a good
scrubbing, for the
grout is black with
mold.
If you want to
emphasize the break
more strongly , use
dashes to separate the
interrupter from the
rest of the sentence.
The pattern looks like
this:
the first part of
the sentence +
— + interrupter
+ — + the rest of
the sentence .
These sentences
illustrate the pattern:
That chocolate-
broccoli muffin—
though a good
source of
vitamin C— will
upset Frank's
stomach this early
in the morning.
My brother's
seven-foot python
—aptly named
Squeeze—
slithered out the
open back door
and frightened
Mrs. Russell, our
next-door
neighbor, nearly
to death.
That nuclear
orange jacket —
believe me—
fails to
complement your
lime green pants.
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