Activities to Teach Students to Use Commas With Nonrestrictive Elements

The use of commas with nonrestrictive elements in a sentence can be a challenge for students who are learning the English language. Nonrestrictive elements are phrases or clauses that are not essential to the meaning of the sentence but provide additional information. Nonrestrictive elements are usually set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas.

In this article, we will discuss some activities that can help students understand the use of commas with nonrestrictive elements and improve their writing skills.

1. Identifying Nonrestrictive Elements in a Sentence

The first step in teaching the use of commas with nonrestrictive elements is to help students identify them in a sentence. To do this activity, give students a set of sentences that contain nonrestrictive elements without commas. Ask them to identify the nonrestrictive element in each sentence and add commas to set it off.

For example, “My sister’s dog Bella who is a Labrador Retriever loves to play fetch.” The nonrestrictive element in this sentence is “who is a Labrador Retriever.” Students should add a comma before and after the nonrestrictive element to set it off.

This activity will help students identify nonrestrictive elements more easily and understand why they need to be set off with commas.

2. Nonrestrictive Element Scavenger Hunt

Another activity to teach the use of commas with nonrestrictive elements is a scavenger hunt. Before the class begins, hide several sentences around the classroom that contain nonrestrictive elements. Divide the class into groups and ask them to search for the sentences.

Once they have found the sentences, ask them to read the sentence aloud and identify the nonrestrictive element. Then, they should add commas to set off the nonrestrictive element.

This activity is a fun way for students to work in groups and practice their skills identifying and using commas with nonrestrictive elements.

3. Create Nonrestrictive Element Sentences

For this activity, ask students to create sentences that contain nonrestrictive elements. The sentences can be on any topic, but students must include at least one nonrestrictive element in each sentence.

After they have created their sentences, have them exchange papers with a partner. The partner will then identify the nonrestrictive element and add the necessary commas.

This activity is a great way to encourage students to practice their writing skills and become more comfortable using commas with nonrestrictive elements.

In conclusion, the use of commas with nonrestrictive elements is an important aspect of the English language. With these activities, students can improve their understanding of nonrestrictive elements and learn how to use commas to set them off properly. By practicing these skills, students will become more confident writers and better prepared for academic success.  

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