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    #1

    Using a comma

    I have a problem when using a comma to set off non-essential and essential elements. Although I know the rule which says that non-essential element needs a comma and essential does not need it, I still have a difficulty to find out what is a non-essential and what essential element.
    These sentences I have written just as a kind of exercise. Please, could someone look at them and tell me where I have made mistakes.

    Peter Thompson, one of the best players in his team, died suddenly in a traffic accident.
    Voltaire, who wrote a book called Candid, made an indelible mark on the world literature.
    London, which is one of the biggest cities in the world, still has a problem with pollution.
    Peter Tosh, who played together with Bob Marley, made later a solo career.
    Columbus, who discovered the New World, died in poverty.
    The man who shot with his gun at the police officer, was arrested yesterday.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Using a comma

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I have a problem when using a comma to set off non-essential and essential elements. Although I know the rule which says that non-essential element needs a comma and essential does not need it, I still have a difficulty to find out what is a non-essential and what essential element.
    These sentences I have written just as a kind of exercise. Please, could someone look at them and tell me where I have made mistakes.

    Peter Thompson, one of the best players in his team, died suddenly in a traffic accident.
    Voltaire, who wrote a book called Candid, made an indelible mark on the world literature.
    London, which is one of the biggest cities in the world, still has a problem with pollution.
    Peter Tosh, who played together with Bob Marley, made later a solo career.
    Columbus, who discovered the New World, died in poverty.
    The man who shot with his gun at the police officer, was arrested yesterday.
    I would say they're all fine with the exception of the last one which I don't think needs a comma anywhere.

    In addition, in the last sentence, you don't really need "with his gun". "Shot at the police officer" will suffice.
    And Peter Tosh "later had a solo career", not "made later a solo career".

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    #3

    Re: Using a comma

    emsr2d2
    Thank you again for correcting my mistakes.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Using a comma

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I have a problem when using a comma to set off non-essential and essential elements. Although I know the rule which says that non-essential element needs a comma and essential does not need it, I still have a difficulty to find out what is a non-essential and what essential element.
    These sentences I have written just as a kind of exercise. Please, could someone look at them and tell me where I have made mistakes.

    Peter Thompson, one of the best players in his team, died suddenly in a traffic accident.
    Voltaire, who wrote a book called Candid, made an indelible mark on the world literature.
    London, which is one of the biggest cities in the world, still has a problem with pollution.
    Peter Tosh, who played together with Bob Marley, made later a solo career.
    Columbus, who discovered the New World, died in poverty.
    The man who shot with his gun at the police officer, was arrested yesterday.
    You need to read about defining and non-defining clauses. The above examples (except for the last) are mostly wasted because the person of the subject is already defined, so that clause is non-defining, and you need a comma.

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    #5

    Re: Using a comma

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I have a problem when using a comma to set off non-essential and essential elements. Although I know the rule which says that non-essential element needs a comma and essential does not need it, I still have a difficulty to find out what is a non-essential and what essential element.
    These sentences I have written just as a kind of exercise. Please, could someone look at them and tell me where I have made mistakes.

    Peter Thompson, one of the best players in his team, died suddenly in a traffic accident.
    Voltaire, who wrote a book called Candid, made an indelible mark on the world literature.
    London, which is one of the biggest cities in the world, still has a problem with pollution.
    Peter Tosh, who played together with Bob Marley, made later a solo career.
    Columbus, who discovered the New World, died in poverty.
    The man who shot with his gun at the police officer, was arrested yesterday.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Bassim:

    (1) I think that some people have this rule for non-essential/

    non-defining/ non-restrictive clauses: If you deleted the

    clause, would it change the meaning that you wish to deliver?

    (a) Look at this sentence from Guide to Modern English (1960):

    "Girls who know nothing about football should be barred from

    attending the games."

    If we delete "who know nothing about football," we get:

    "Girls should be barred from attending the games."

    But that is NOT what you wish to say. You wish to say that only

    girls who know nothing about football should be barred. The other

    girls (those who DO know something about football) are welcome.

    So that's why you would NOT use commas. The information is essential/

    defining/restrictive.

    (i) The same book then gives this sentence:

    "My sister, who knows nothing about football, insisted on tagging

    along with us."

    If you deleted "who knows nothing about football," it does not

    change the meaning of what you wish to say: "My sister insisted on

    tagging along with us." The clause "who knows nothing about

    football" is just some nice extra information that has been thrown into

    the sentence. So that's why there are two commas: the material

    between the commas is not essential, not defining, not restrictive.


    James

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