Review Sentence Fragments
A sentence fragment doesn't have an independent clause. An independent clause has a subject and a verb and is a complete thought.
Examples: Fish swim.
McMahon doesn't dance; he boogies.
Fragments result from writers confusing phrases with complete sentences. A phrase has neither a noun or a verb.
Beginning a sentence with which
We don't like the BMW models. Which entail too many trips to the repair shop.
The Great 2008 Recession has spread its tentacles into community colleges. Which are slashing budgets.
Beginning a sentence with such.
We like to avoid pasta dishes. Such as pesto lasagna.
You should avoid high-sugar, high-processed foods. Such as Doritos, Pringles, Captain Crunch, Sara Lee's pies, Hot Pockets, Pop Tarts, and Danish Go-Rounds.
A few things in life make me laugh. Such as watching McMahon dance.
Beginning any subordinating conjunction like "because," "although," and "whenever" and not following the phrase with a complete sentence.
Although I am six feet, 230 pounds. I feel compelled to gain another 20 pounds of muscle for my upcoming MMA fight.
Renee would like to buy a Ford Explorer. Although she is concerned about the rising cost of fuel. Because she has to drive far to work.
Renee would like to buy a Ford Explorer although she is concerned about the rising cost of fuel, especially because she has to drive far to work.
You will suffer a low GPA. Until you discard yourself of your slothful, enervating "friends."
After the royal wedding commences and entertains billions of voyeuristic spectators. I'm going to change my name to Prince.
Stella is on her iPhone constantly. Even though she is gnawed by an intractable sense of loneliness.
Whenever Tom goes to work. He stops to get a coffee.
Another cause of fragments is confusing participles with verbs. A verb converts into a non-verb participle with an ing or ed ending.
Tan is a verb
Tanning is a gerund or a participle depending on its location and role in the sentence.
Tanning too much will lead to skin cancer.
Tanning too much over the weekend, I suffered a sunburn.
McMahon knows what his weekend will be like. Tanning, drinking coconut milkshakes, luxuriating in a hammock.
Spending millions on the royal wedding. The royal family won't blink an eye.
Waiting for the dance to start as the midnight sun finally arced over Scandinavia's full moon. McMahon approached the dance floor.
Using gallons of coconut lotion for the annual Hermosa Beach Tanning Competition. McMahon felt a fever blister erupting on his clavicle.
McMahon thought he better teach ways of avoiding fragment sentences to the students. Listening politely while secretly reading their text-messages.
The iPhone is losing comparison tests to the Droid. Which is simply the better choice. Because of its open platform.
Community colleges may have to raise tuition by 40% because of budget cuts. Which are also forcing the colleges to reduce the amount of sections taught. Which is devastating the students. Who are languishing in despair at these developments.
Summary of Book's Irrational Behaviors
For your essay, you want to focus on irrational behaviors based on some of the following:
1. making a false choice through a decoy.
2. being enticed by something that is “free” but is not.
3. Reptilian desires triumphing over the cortex.
4. Wiser choices impeded by arousal.
5. Stagnation, debt, and poor performance caused by procrastination.
6. Bad choices based on false, unrealistic expectations.
7. Being too dependent on placebos by confusing causation with correlation.
8. Rationalizing dishonest behavior.
Part One. Lexicon
1. procrastination, pro means for; cras means tomorrow, see page 141; we love to put off things that make us uncomfortable until tomorrow. It’s part of our comfort hardwiring. The problem is this instinct results in long-term discomfort and creates more problems than are worth the short-term comfort of avoiding our duties.
Some people eat like hogs, clogging their arteries all their lives and then at 55 they "find religion" and cut down on their fats but by then it's too late.
Some people don't put any money away for retirement and find, at 65, they're homeless.
2. Debt society: United States is a debt society; we spend more than we save. In contrast, China saves over 50% of their income. Japan about 25%. See page 139. Debt society evidences a culture whose procrastination instincts (delaying the need to save for short-term gratification of spending) have run amok, gone haywire, are out of control.
3. In America, the walk-in closet is a euphemism for a junk receptacle, a place for hording acquisitions that put people into debt. I know a guy in Orange County who bought a bigger house with a bigger living room because his old house was too small for his large-screen TV.
4. In America, debt society is so bad that millions of Americans go into credit card buying staples, food, groceries, etc. The average American credit card debt is $9,000 according to Ariely. According to creditcards.com in 2009 the average household credit card debt is almost $16,000.
5. People need mechanisms to discourage procrastination to increase performance. Ariely found in his college class that firm deadlines increased the quality of the essays he received. See page 145. I’m sad to say, but human beings need a gun pointed at our head for maximum performance. When a teacher or boss establishes firm guidelines, that person is doing us a favor.
6. Ariely argues that too much freedom pushes us into the abyss of procrastination and self-indulgence. There must be firm, even dictatorial, motivators to keep us fit and healthy. A cholesterol and fat tax, for example, would pressure us into eating and exercising more. For Ariely, too much freedom is a bad thing. We need a gun to our head to perform to our maximum.
7. One way to curb spending: The Ice Glass Method. We all should go though a defrost processes before spending. See page 152.
8. Another way to bring about improved behavior and minimizing indulgence and procrastination, the use of shame. When you spend over your credit card limit in a certain category, a message will post to all your friends that you violated your rule.
Part Two. Human Fallibility List (a fallibility is a foible or a weakness)
1. Because the effects of procrastination are incremental and gradual, we always believe, wrongly, that procrastination is more harmless than it really is, until it’s too late. I have a student who dropped English 1A 9 times. He's in his 30s and he is still attending El Camino College. I know a guy who got by with his Paul McCartney looks until he reached middle-age. Now he lives with his mother and he's in his 40s.
2. We are too often deluded into believing that freedom is life without constraints and boundaries when in fact we’re happier when we’re disciplined to live within firm boundaries that give our life structure.
3. Most of us lack the inner adult to discipline our behavior. Instead, we need an external authority figure to motivate us with a carrot and a stick.
4. Our sick addiction to “self-esteem” has blinded us to the value of shame as a way of motivating us to do what’s best for us and to avoid that which will bring us shame.
5. We become irrationally attached to something as soon as we claim ownership to it. We make our objects part of our emotional fabric and as such we give over-value materialistic things to our detriment, mourning and grieving their loss as if they were loved ones. I’m thinking of people who have funerals for their cars.
6. We are so focused on what we may lose (as we accumulate things) that we lose sight of what we might gain if we could lose our obsession. Television now airs hoarding shows like Buried Alive. People are convinced they cannot part with their junk.
7. We are so hungry for meaning that we give cult status to things, as if they made us belong to a special club, and this impulse makes us exaggerate the value of things. I’m thinking of a student who stood in line for three days to buy a new pair of limited edition Nike shoes.
8. We are not in love with life. Rather, we are in love with an idea or representation of life and this idea or representation is often embodied by a thing that we identity with (Mini Cooper equals hipster intellectual; Apple iMac equals creative genius) so that we chase things that are not valuable intrinsically. Rather, they are chimeras, hallucinations, illusions, etc. Most people are in love with the IDEA of marriage, but not marriage as a real entity.
9. We are inclined to chase chimeras down bottomless foxholes while squandering our life. Or as Jim Harrison put it: We are inclined to “piss away our lives on nonsense.”
10. We are in love with the idea of having many choices, thinking that options give us abundance when in fact studies show that too many options make us squander our opportunities.
11. We assume, wrongly, that others see our materialistic dependence the same way we do. For example, I know a teacher who bought a house in San Pedro. A sister of the owner still visits the house and says it’s hers because she has a “long history” in that house.
12. We have a hording tendency that makes us more poor. For example, some people accumulate so many facebook friends that they have too many “friends” for meaningful communication.
13. We are inclined to become paralyzed by indecision and suffer the starvation of Buridan’s Ass. See page 195. I know a man who never bought a stereo or computer or TV because he was always “waiting for the better version” to come along.
Part Three. Class Activity: In a paragraph, write about a person who suffers one of the human foibles described above.