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1. Structure

2. Setting

3. Theme

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Run-On Sentences

Run-on sentences occur when writers try to combine more than one idea into a single sentence. They cause confusion because readers are not sure when one idea ends and the next one begins. Read our entry and test your knowledge with our quiz!


Plot consists of the events of the story. It addresses how different events relate to one another through cause and effect.  The plot of a story can vary in structure depending on the style of the author and the type of story.

Plot in general: If you are describing the events of your day, the plot could be the following:

First, I woke up and went to work.  At work, I attended various meetings and presented to my bosses.  After work, I went home and cooked myself dinner.  Then, I watched sports on TV and fell asleep.

Plot in popular culture: The following is the plot from the romantic comedy, You’ve Got Mail:

Kathleen Kelly owns a children’s bookshop in Manhattan. On her 30th birthday, she wanders into an AOL chat room and begins speaking to a man about New York and their emotions.  The two fall in love, but unbeknownst to them, the man, Joe Fox, is the owner of a large bookstore chain that is putting her out of business.  The two interact in real life, not knowing that they are falling for each other online, and Kathleen hates everything that Joe stands for: big business, discounts, impersonal service.  Kathleen and Joe arrange to meet, but when Joe sees that this woman is in fact the Kathleen Kelly who owns the children’s bookshop, he meets her but does not disclose that he is in fact the man from the internet.  He uses his advantage to get her to like him as a person and, at the end of the movie, they meet again knowing and loving both each other’s online and real personalities. 

Plot in literature: The following is the plot from the Shakespeare play, Hamlet:

A ghost wanders into a castle in Denmark and looks like the dead King Hamlet.  Hamlet’s brother, Claudius, has recently married Hamlet’s widow, Queen Gertrude.  The ghost speaks to his son, Prince Hamlet, tells him that it was Claudius who killed him, and asks Hamlet to avenge his death.  Hamlet tries to kill Claudius, but is overwhelmed by emotion and appears to be crazy.  Some think that he has fallen in love with the lord Polonius’ daughter, Ophelia, but he has not.  Hamlet accidentally kills Ophelia’s Polonius thinking he is Claudius and is sent away to England.  Overwhelmed by grief, Ophelia goes mad and kills herself.  Polonius’ son decides to duel with Hamlet, who had to come back to Denmark, but puts poison on his sword so that he will kill Hamlet with the smallest strike.  Claudius decides to put poison in a goblet as well, which Gertrude drinks from and she dies.  In the fighting, Laertes dies, Hamlet kills Claudius, and then Hamlet dies.