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    • Join Date: Dec 2006
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    #1

    Trying to build confindence

    Unless readers can move easily from one thought to another, they will surely find something else to read or turn on the television.

    For this sentence, shouldn't there be a comma placed before the coordinating conjunction "or" because "turn on the television" is an independent clause; or it should be there because final phrases or clauses that establish a contrast, exception or qualification are separated by a comma, right?

    Would you attempt to define "qualification" for me in this context.

    Thanks dearly,
    Rob

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    #2

    Re: Trying to build confindence

    'Turn on the television' is not an indpendent clause for me because it doesn't have its own subject; if it said 'or they will turn on', then I would use a comma.


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    #3

    Re: Trying to build confindence

    I think you solidified it for me. "Turn on the television" is a phrase, right? And given the context, it wouldn't be separated with a comma; I think.

    -- Rob

    No, no. Even if "Turn on the television" is a phrase. It's a contrast, so it would be separated with a comma.

    Come on linguistic experts, help me.

    This isn't in jest. Is "come on linguistic experts" a phrase, and have I punctuated it right?

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    #4

    Re: Trying to build confindence

    It's a phrase, but that doesn't make it an independent clause. Also, punctuation is an area where there are few absolute rules- different people will punctuate the same thing differently. Both of the verbs are governed by the same subject (they) so it's fine without the comma IMO. However, I wouldn't object at all if there were a comma.

    With the second, there would normally be a comma before 'linguistic experts', because we separate the names of those we are addressing from the rest of the sentence.

    GV Carey, the author of a well-known guide to punctuation said that it was 2/3s rules and 1/3 taste. I did a poll on the subject, which most people on the site so far seem to agree with. Have a look at the results here.
    Last edited by Tdol; 18-Dec-2006 at 07:13.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Trying to build confindence

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert J. Pohl View Post
    I think you solidified it for me. "Turn on the television" is a phrase, right? And given the context, it wouldn't be separated with a comma; I think.

    -- Rob

    No, no. Even if "Turn on the television" is a phrase. It's a contrast, so it would be separated with a comma.

    Come on linguistic experts, help me.

    This isn't in jest. Is "come on linguistic experts" a phrase, and have I punctuated it right?
    "Turn on the television" is not a contrasting steatment there; it is simply a second option. A comma would interfere with the flow of the options.

    Unless readers can move easily from one thought to another, they will surely find something else to read or turn on the television.

    Your sentence splits after "surely":

    they will surely find something else to read
    or
    they will surely turn on the television

    The options are equal and separated by the conjunction "or".





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    #6

    Re: Trying to build confindence

    I see. Thanks. I've been studying The Everday English Handbook for a while now. For comma usage, it says separate the final clause or phrase with a comma if either offer a qualification, contrast or exception.

    Contrast and exception are easy enough to understand; however, would you define qualification?

    Also, The Everday English Handbook by Leaonard J. Rosen is a comprehensive book, but I've noticed a few areas overlooked. Do you have any recommendations?

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Trying to build confindence

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert J. Pohl View Post
    I see. Thanks. I've been studying The Everday English Handbook for a while now. For comma usage, it says separate the final clause or phrase with a comma if either offer a qualification, contrast or exception.

    Contrast and exception are easy enough to understand; however, would you define qualification?

    Also, The Everday English Handbook by Leaonard J. Rosen is a comprehensive book, but I've noticed a few areas overlooked. Do you have any recommendations?
    I don't think you'll find a grammar book that doesn't overlook some things.

    A qualification would be something that moderates a previous statement.

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