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    vcolts is offline Member
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    Default Comma usage Questions

    I read the following sentence:

    Members and officials of a private swimming pool in a Philadelphia suburb reacted to a visiting group of minority children by asking them not to return and pulling their kids out of the water, according to a day camp director who said Thursday that parents are considering legal action.

    The bolded part is a prepositional phrase, right?

    I read somewhere that the comma can be used before a prepositional sentence to emphasize.

    Is the writer trying to emphasize that the parents are considering legal action?

    Also, can I omit the comma and not make any difference? I really almost never use a comma before according to.

    Q2:

    The bolded part is a prepositional phrase, right?

    Is the bolded part considered to be a direct address?
    So I should use the comma?


    Q3:

    The bolded part is considered to be a direct address so I should use the comma?

    I shouldn't put the comma before the conjunction in the above case because it is a dependant clause?


    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    opa6x57's Avatar
    opa6x57 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Comma usage Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by vcolts View Post
    I read the following sentence:

    Members and officials of a private swimming pool in a Philadelphia suburb reacted to a visiting group of minority children by asking them not to return and pulling their kids out of the water, according to a day camp director who said Thursday that parents are considering legal action.

    The bolded part is a prepositional phrase, right?

    I read somewhere that the comma can be used before a prepositional sentence to emphasize.

    Is the writer trying to emphasize that the parents are considering legal action?

    Also, can I omit the comma and not make any difference? I really almost never use a comma before according to.

    Q2:

    The bolded part is a prepositional phrase, right?

    Is the bolded part considered to be a direct address?
    So I should use the comma?


    Q3:

    The bolded part is considered to be a direct address so I should use the comma?

    I shouldn't put the comma before the conjunction in the above case because it is a dependant clause?


    Thanks in advance.
    I'm not a teacher ... but I've lived in America for 52 years.

    I found one reference that says this, "According to has been called a prepositional phrase, but strictly speaking, according is a participle in the sense of agreeing, acceding, and to alone is the preposition."

    But, in this case, I think what we are dealing with is literary license used extensively by journalists.

    This quote is from a journalistic piece, right? In journalism, they often use this construction to tell the 'source' of quoted (or paraphrased) material. These same journalists then cause us further confusion by adding in additonal facts after the 'source'.

    The journalist spoke with 'a day camp director'.

    This conversation took place on a Thursday.

    The day camp director said, "Members and officials of a private swimming pool in a Philadelphia suburb reacted to a visiting group of minority children by asking them not to return and pulling their kids out of the water." (Actually, this was probably NOT a quote from the day camp director, but summarizes or paraphrases what this person told the journalist.)

    The day camp director also said, during the Thursday conversation, that the parents are considering legal action.

    In this particular usage - where the 'according to' is to introduce the identity of the source of the information - I have NEVER seen this without the comma - even if that part comes first.

    According to a source in the ministry, the water level will continue to rise.
    The water level will continue to rise, according to a source in the ministry.
    No, I do not believe that the comma has any significance as to the relative importance of the legal action. It's merely to separate the information from the source-that-provided-it.

    The quote is a poor example of written English. I would certainly not write a sentence like this for a college essay. It has a place in journalism, but not in academia.

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