Sentence Structure Errors
Cat and Dog Sentences

Cat and dog sentence

A sentence must have unity, which means it should deal with only one main topic. If the sentence has more than one topic, then one of the two must be subordinated to the other. Both cannot be equal.

 The grass in the field is quite green in the spring.

This sentence has unity because it deals with only one topic.

A cat and dog sentence is a sentence that has two or more different topics that are not related, yet they are joined by a coordinate conjunction as if they were equal.

 The grass in the field is quite green in the spring, and I like horseback riding.

These two ideas are not related, yet they are joined by a comma and the coordinate conjunction and. Therefore, this is a cat and dog sentence.

Correcting a cat and dog sentence

There are several ways to correct a cat and dog sentence.

(1) Break the sentence into two smaller sentences.
This is not the preferable method because it will create choppy sentences. Use this method only if another method will not work.

 The grass in the field is quite green in the spring. I like horseback riding.

(2) Subordinate one idea to another, if possible.

 I like horseback riding in the spring because the grass in the field is quite green.

(3) Eliminate one of the two unrelated ideas.

 The grass in the field is quite green in the spring.
Practice

Correct the following cat and dog sentences, using the most effective method.

  1. The recession has taken its toll, and many people are unemployed.
  2. The major banks have reduced the number of loans, and the stock market is declining.

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