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      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Hong Kong
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong

    • Join Date: Dec 2005
    • Posts: 130
    #1

    or

    Do we need a comma before or in the following sentences?


    1.Do you like apples, or oranges?

    2.Do you like apples, bananas, or oranges?

    3.Which do you like, apples, or oranges?

    4.Which do you like, apples, bananas, or oranges?

    5.He or she is a student.

    If yes, why we need a comma?

    Thank you


    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 2,886
    #2

    Re: or

    1.Do you like apples, or oranges?

    'or' is a coordinating conjunction that coordinates two clauses, of which the second is ellipted (part of it is omitted). Two short clauses comprise the sentence and the conjunction is adequate separation, therefore the comma is often dropped.


    Do you like apples or (do you like) oranges?

    2.Do you like apples, bananas, or oranges?

    sentence #2 contains a series of elements that function as the object of the verb "like". The use of serial comma is necessary.


    3.Which do you like, apples, or oranges?

    Which do you like? (Do you like) Apples or oranges.
    Which do you like: apples or oranges?


    4.Which do you like, apples, bananas, or oranges?

    Which do you like? Apples, bananas(,) or oranges?
    Which do you like: apples, bananas(,) or oranges?


    5.He or she is a student.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #3

    Re: or

    1.Do you like apples or oranges?

    2.Do you like apples, bananas, or oranges? (the second comma is the Oxford comma)

    3.Which do you like: apples or oranges?

    4.Which do you like: apples, bananas, or oranges?

    5.He - or she - is a student. (emphatic)
    compare
    He (or she) is a student. (continuing to acknowledge that it could be either. This would be more likely the punctuation after you had already said/written the emphatic version.)

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