The Grammar/Punctuation Thread

KLS52

Guru
Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Reaction score
26,525
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Other
So, I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile. I loved English when I was in school and was a super speller, writer, etc. That has declined, however, as I aged, lol. I’m, continually, second guessing myself when it comes to commas, spelling, and other punctuation. For instance, do I need a comma after the word “myself” in the preceding sentence? I find I want to over-comma my sentences, hahahaha.

My goal with this thread is to post random sentences and see what everyone thinks as far as where punctuation should go. It could be fun. I could get boring real fast. Oh well. We will see, I guess.

Now I have to think of a sentence that I was recently struggling with...feel free to critique what I just wrote...be right back.

Please move to another forum if appropriate. I didn’t know where to put it.
 

KLS52

Guru
Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Reaction score
26,525
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Other
I feel like the use of the ... is cheating. I do it all the time!
 

Indian Summer

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Reaction score
7,001
Location
Oxon, UK
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
In my native language I feel like commas are used quite a lot, and the rules governing comma usage are also fairly clear. However, the comma rules in English are not entirely clear to me, and it's my impression that native English speakers also seem generally less keen on using commas.

Here's an example sentences where I've used the comma rules of my homeland:

"I've been doing dishes, cooking, dining and watching TV, but now it's getting late, so I'm off to bed in a minute."

Would you object to either of those last two commas? If so, why? What are the rules?

By the way, have you heard of the Oxford comma? Wikipedia says:
In English language punctuation, a serial comma or series comma (also called an Oxford comma or a Harvard comma)[1] is a comma placed immediately before the coordinating conjunction (usually and or or) in a series of three or more terms. For example, a list of three countries might be punctuated either as "France, Italy, and Spain" (with the serial comma), or as "France, Italy and Spain" (without the serial comma).[2][3][4]
 
  • Like
Reactions: shyvas and Val

KLS52

Guru
Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Reaction score
26,525
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Other
I don’t recall hearing of the Oxford comma. I remember being told not to use commas with the word “and” but I do agree with the comma used in the first example, where the comma is used after Italy. I think I don’t know the rules anymore and that’s the problem!

I thought the word “so” would be separated by commas on both ends, but it looks correct the way you used it.
 

KLS52

Guru
Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Reaction score
26,525
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Other
What about this sentence:

They always get my hopes up, with extended forecasts, and, inevitably, let me down.

I feel like there are too many commas.
The rule I remember is, if you can take out certain phrases and still have it be a complete sentence, then you would need commas separating the phrases.

So, “they always get my hopes up and let me down” is a sentence, therefore, I used commas to separate everything else. I think I’m overthinking at this point. :lol: As long as something makes sense, and isn’t a complete run-on-sentence-mess, I’m not going to worry about it, especially, in a relaxed atmosphere like social media. (Should there be a comma after atmosphere? Do I need the comma after especially?) :dizzy:
 

KLS52

Guru
Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Reaction score
26,525
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Other
I found it! I’ve been wrong for years and years and years! :starshower:

INCORRECT
Watering and feeding new plants is necessary for growth, however, too much water or fertilizer can kill them.

Erica felt as if she might faint from hunger, therefore, she decided a trip to McDonald’s was necessary.

Joyce Carol Oates is a novelist, essayist, playwright, and poet, moreover, she is a distinguished scholar.

All of these examples create comma splices because there are complete sentences to the left and the right of the conjunctive adverbs however, therefore, and moreover. The commas after “growth,” “hunger,” and “poet” create the comma splices. Here is the correct way to punctuate these sentences.

CORRECT
Watering and feeding new plants is necessary for growth, but too much water or fertilizer can kill them.

Erica felt as if she might faint from hunger. Therefore, she decided a trip to McDonald’s was necessary.

Joyce Carol Oates is a novelist, essayist, playwright, and poet; moreover, she is a distinguished scholar.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PTree15 and Val

KLS52

Guru
Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Reaction score
26,525
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Other
I’m very excited to have solved this. :yes:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Val

shyvas

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 5, 2012
Reaction score
25,589
Location
Somewhere in the South
Lifestyle
  1. Other
I don’t recall hearing of the Oxford comma. I remember being told not to use commas with the word “and” but I do agree with the comma used in the first example, where the comma is used after Italy. I think I don’t know the rules anymore and that’s the problem!

I thought the word “so” would be separated by commas on both ends, but it looks correct the way you used it.

Same here.
We would have Grammar lessons every week and I remember that the teachers were quite strict about the rules. In those days, we didn't have internet, hence we would write a lot. It seemed quite easy at the time not to make grammatical mistakes, however I have lost track of the rules except for the coma '' and'' rule.

Punctuating sentences
 

shyvas

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 5, 2012
Reaction score
25,589
Location
Somewhere in the South
Lifestyle
  1. Other
I don’t recall hearing of the Oxford comma. I remember being told not to use commas with the word “and” but I do agree with the comma used in the first example, where the comma is used after Italy. I think I don’t know the rules anymore and that’s the problem!

I thought the word “so” would be separated by commas on both ends, but it looks correct the way you used it.

I have never heard of the Oxford coma.

I'm certain it didn't exist in the good old days.:rolleyes: After all we are talking about decades ago.;)

Many teachers (UK) lack a 'grounding a in grammar' :

Many teachers 'do not grasp grammar'
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Val and KLS52

KLS52

Guru
Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Reaction score
26,525
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Other
I’m still having trouble with not using a comma after the words however, though, especially, when they fall in the middle of a sentence.

Like, (bad grammar, I know) if I had said “however, though and especially”, I would still want to put a comma after though.

I think I confused myself again.
I think I confused myself, again.
 

shyvas

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 5, 2012
Reaction score
25,589
Location
Somewhere in the South
Lifestyle
  1. Other
I’m still having trouble with not using a comma after the words however, though, especially, when they fall in the middle of a sentence.

Like, (bad grammar, I know) if I had said “however, though and especially”, I would still want to put a comma after though.

I think I confused myself again.
I think I confused myself, again.

You certainly have confused me. ;)
 

KLS52

Guru
Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Reaction score
26,525
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Other
In my native language I feel like commas are used quite a lot, and the rules governing comma usage are also fairly clear. However, the comma rules in English are not entirely clear to me, and it's my impression that native English speakers also seem generally less keen on using commas.

Here's an example sentences where I've used the comma rules of my homeland:

"I've been doing dishes, cooking, dining and watching TV, but now it's getting late, so I'm off to bed in a minute."

Would you object to either of those last two commas? If so, why? What are the rules?

By the way, have you heard of the Oxford comma? Wikipedia says:
I have also lost track of what things are called, such as coordinating conjunction, serial comma, participles, etc. It has all gotten away from me. I still love it, though.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Val and PTree15

KLS52

Guru
Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Reaction score
26,525
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Other
Oh, look! We had two older threads on grammar. :D

C05F9565-35A3-4146-8A85-2F23353DDDA0.jpeg
 

PTree15

Guru
Supporter
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
Reaction score
15,103
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
I’m still having trouble with not using a comma after the words however, though, especially, when they fall in the middle of a sentence.

Like, (bad grammar, I know) if I had said “however, though and especially”, I would still want to put a comma after though.

I think I confused myself again.
I think I confused myself, again.
LOL! On that second one, I would write it as "I think I confused myself -- again. :D Just to put the emphasis on again.
There is great debate in U.S. publishing circles about the use of the Oxford (serial) comma. There is a case to be made for using it when the series of items could lead to a misread. In newspapers, we were taught to use as few commas as possible because the goal of an article was to keep the reader going, not make him or her pause. But magazines often use the comma before a conjunction.
 

PTree15

Guru
Supporter
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
Reaction score
15,103
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
I would suggest that the book
The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.
can be helpful in many instances.

However, I am now actually a bit unsure as to whether it is a good idea to suggest an American book on questions that arise from using the English language.
I found a hard copy of that book at a yard sale. I have referred to it for many a grammar/clarity of writing question. It has a lot of good tips for U.S. writers.
 

Freesia

not my business.
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Reaction score
7,337
Lifestyle
  1. Other
I think it depends on what you wish to emphasise, putting a comma on either side of something seems to emphasise it.. or separate it from the other parts of the sentence.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Val and KLS52

Katrina

Master
Joined
Jun 17, 2012
Reaction score
10,423
Location
Canada
What about this sentence:

They always get my hopes up, with extended forecasts, and, inevitably, let me down.

I feel like there are too many commas.
The rule I remember is, if you can take out certain phrases and still have it be a complete sentence, then you would need commas separating the phrases.

So, “they always get my hopes up and let me down” is a sentence, therefore, I used commas to separate everything else. I think I’m overthinking at this point. :lol: As long as something makes sense, and isn’t a complete run-on-sentence-mess, I’m not going to worry about it, especially, in a relaxed atmosphere like social media. (Should there be a comma after atmosphere? Do I need the comma after especially?) :dizzy:
revised: "They always get my hopes up with extended forecasts and, inevitably, let me down."

You could also put the comma before the "and" and add the word "they":
"They always get my hopes up with extended forecasts, and they inevitably let me down."

revised: "As long as something makes sense and isn’t a complete run-on-sentence mess, I’m not going to worry about it, especially in a relaxed atmosphere like social media."

ETA: You could also use an em dash in that last sentence if you want to add more emphasis: "As long as something makes sense and isn't a complete run-on-sentence mess, I'm not going to worry about it — especially in a relaxed atmosphere like social media."

Yeah, I think it looks better with an em dash.
 
Last edited:

Katrina

Master
Joined
Jun 17, 2012
Reaction score
10,423
Location
Canada
re: Oxford comma, whether you use it or not depends on what style you're using eg: AP, Chicago, MLA, APA

I use AP Style for my job, and we use the Oxford comma unless a client asks us not to for a particular project.

And even though I edit for a living, I still make mistakes while writing stuff here... I don't wanna always think about punctuation!! haha.
 
  • Like
Reactions: KLS52 and Val