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    • Join Date: Mar 2010
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    #1

    Comma use

    (writer not teacher)

    How to comma a sentence with the form of:”The customary notice period was waived and almost immediately he left the country to take up a new appointment overseas.”
    Strict grammar tells me it's 'waived, and, almost immediately, he' (which seems pedantic)
    My editor prefers 'waived, and almost immediately, he (which seems unnatural)
    I prefer "waived and, almost immediately, he" (which is how I would read it)
    Which one please?

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Comma use

    Quote Originally Posted by nwalford View Post
    (writer not teacher)

    How to comma a sentence with the form of:”The customary notice period was waived and almost immediately he left the country to take up a new appointment overseas.”
    Strict grammar tells me it's 'waived, and, almost immediately, he' (which seems pedantic)
    My editor prefers 'waived, and almost immediately, he (which seems unnatural)
    I prefer "waived and, almost immediately, he" (which is how I would read it)
    Which one please?
    "Comma" as a verb - interesting! But if you have to use it, try "How should I comma this sentence ...", "How do/would you comma this sentence...", "How does one ..."
    If you're at the stage of verbing your own nouns, you should be able to dispense with the "How to verb?" construction, which does not exist in proper English.

    To your question:
    1. ”The customary notice period was waived, and almost immediately he left the country to take up a new appointment overseas.”

    2. ”The customary notice period was waived and, almost immediately, he left the country to take up a new appointment overseas.”

    In 1. the comma is optional, and signifies a pause.
    In 2. The twin commas surround the parenthesised adverbial phrase.
    Your editor's version is not correct. If you parenthesise a phrase like this, the sentence must make sense even if you delete the phrase.


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    #3

    Re: Comma use

    Thanks. the editor was American, and I'm now wondering if there might be a distinctive American style of "comma-ing" that is different from the rest of the world - I've seen that form in other writings from there.

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    #4

    Re: Comma use

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    "Comma" as a verb - interesting! But if you have to use it, try "How should I comma this sentence ...", "How do/would you comma this sentence...", "How does one ..."
    If you're at the stage of verbing your own nouns, you should be able to dispense with the "How to verb?" construction, which does not exist in proper English.

    To your question:
    1. ”The customary notice period was waived, and almost immediately he left the country to take up a new appointment overseas.”

    2. ”The customary notice period was waived and, almost immediately, he left the country to take up a new appointment overseas.”

    In 1. the comma is optional, and signifies a pause.
    In 2. The twin commas surround the parenthesised adverbial phrase.
    Your editor's version is not correct. If you parenthesise a phrase like this, the sentence must make sense even if you delete the phrase.
    Raymott, why did you put a comma before "and" in "In 1. the comma is optional, and signifies a pause."?

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Comma use

    Strictly, the comma belongs before "and" because you have to independent clauses, each with their own subjects.

    If there were two sentences, I would put the comma after "immediately."

    The customary notice period was waived.
    Almost immediately, he left the country to take up a new appointment overseas
    .

    If you combine these two, you do get:
    The customary notice period was waived, and almost immediately, he left the country to take up a new appointment overseas.

    But if you're going to put the comma after "almost immediately, you need it before as well:

    The customary notice period was waived, and, almost immediately, he left the country to take up a new appointment overseas. -- I don't object to this or find it overly pedantic.

    If you choose to ignore the rule about the comma before and when you have two independent clauses, then you can do this:
    The customary notice period was waived and, almost immediately, he left the country to take up a new appointment overseas. -- You can remove the parenthetical "almost immediately" and have a good sentence, as Ray says.

    No one will arrest you no matter what you do and there is no possible ambiguity that is created no matter how you punctuate it.
    Last edited by Barb_D; 09-Mar-2010 at 15:33.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #6

    Re: Comma use

    I prefer your version.

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    #7

    Re: Comma use

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    Raymott, why did you put a comma before "and" in "In 1. the comma is optional, and signifies a pause."?
    Because that's where the pause is in this sentence. It is also optional.

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    #8

    Re: Comma use

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    I prefer your version.
    There's been quite a few versions proposed. Which are you referring to?

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    #9

    Re: Comma use

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Because that's where the pause is in this sentence. It is also optional.
    Why would it be optional? "And signifies a pause" is not an independent clause.

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    #10

    Re: Comma use

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    If you're at the stage of verbing your own nouns, you should be able to dispense with the "How to verb?" construction, which does not exist in proper English.
    Doesn't it really?? Everybody uses it... Could you be more specific?

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