Thursday, July 23, 2015

Commas. Ugh.

These little fellas often appear at random in stories.

* So here’s a basic rule to commit to memory: When a conjunction (and, but, or, or for) links two clauses that could stand alone, use a comma before the conjunction.

a.              We are visiting Washington, and we also plan a trip to Williamsburg.
b.              We are visiting Washington and plan a trip to Williamsburg.

Think of it this way: The subject of sentence b. is “We.” The verbs are “are visiting” and “plan.” We don’t want to separate the subject from the second verb – so no comma.

Exception: Very short phrases (three words or less) do not require a comma, even with two independent clauses and a conjunction.

Correct the following sentences. If the sentence is already correct, write “correct.”

1. He looked through the door, but he did not see anyone inside the church.

2. "We could wait to see if anyone else came, or we could go back home," she said.

3. Reed, a graduate of Washington State University, was elected Secretary of State in 2000.

4. The organization paid the speaker $1,000, but their officers were unable to attend the event.

5. According to Washington state law, bars will become smoke-free on February 15th.

6. He saw Karen, and they had coffee. correct

7. The bales are then sold to a processing center in Tacoma, Washington, which ships them to Moscow, Idaho.

8. It was raining all day on Monday, so we stayed home. correct

9. Later, he phoned again.

10. This will end up having an affect on consumers, she said.

11. He introduced the speaker to Johnson, Williams, and Smith. correct

Appositions, hyperbatons and non-restrictive relative clauses: We don't need to remember the names of these grammar tools. But let's look at how they can help us form shorter descriptive phrases. In other words, squish these two sentences into one.

1. Sam Reed, a graduate of Washington State University, spoke at the Honors College on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

2. The concert will be held on Friday night as part of WSU's Homecoming Weekend.

3.  Frustrated by cuts to higher education, president Elson S. Floyd promised he would lobby legislators in Olympia.


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