That Sneaky Dependent Clause, Part 2

Margie Wakeman Wells The Comma, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

I have been asked for a little more explanation on the last post. A dependent clause is dependent because it has a word out in the front of it that “introduces” it. …He left. (a sentence, an independent clause) …that he left (dependent clause) …when he left (dependent clause) …because he left (dependent clause) …if he left (dependent clause) When …

Be Wary of That Dependent Clause

Margie Wakeman Wells The Comma, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

You all know this rule:¬†Cardinal Rule No. 1: Put a comma before a coordinate conjunction when it is followed by an independent subject and verb. But be careful of the dependent clause that LOOKS LIKE an independent clause. …You have to be careful that you have checked out all the details and you know the pitfalls of the deal. …She …

Interesting Rule from the “Chicago Manual of Style”

Margie Wakeman Wells General, The Comma, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Another take on the word “so”: In 5.210 of CMOS, “Interjections and functional variations”:¬†“… most parts of speech may be used as interjections. A word that is classified as some other part of speech but used with the force of an interjection is called an exclamatory noun, exclamatory adjective, and so forth.” And the word “so” is used as an …

“Too” and “Also”

Margie Wakeman Wells The Comma 2 Comments

The words too and also generally do not need commas with the exception of also at the beginning of the sentence.   Historically too and also had commas before them at the end of the sentence.¬† Since the words are just plain adverbs, there was never really a need to use those commas. They have been dropped — many years …

When the Date Is an Adjective…

Margie Wakeman Wells The Comma Leave a Comment

Take a look at the two basic ways that commas are used: All commas are used to either separate two language elements and push them apart or to surround a language element. The latter implies that the element, if lifted out of the sentence, would take both commas with it and leave a grammatically complete sentence behind. …As the session …

On My Soapbox

Margie Wakeman Wells The Comma 6 Comments

A discussion of this construction comes up about once a month. Is there or is there not a comma after “that” in the following sentence. …I knew that, if I turned right, I’d get there sooner. The sentence is “I knew that I’d get there sooner.” “I knew” is the subject and verb of the sentence. “That I’d get there …

Bumping Up the Comma to a Semicolon

Margie Wakeman Wells The Comma 2 Comments

The rule about “bumping up” the comma to a semicolon in a compound sentence with a coordinate conjunction has to do with obscuring the division in the sentence. Does the other punctuation “hide” the break between the two sentences? Is there other punctuation that makes it difficult to see where the first sentence ends and the second one starts? One …

Margie Wakeman Wells The Comma, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

An independent clause and a sentence are the same thing. And the first rule of all punctuation is that a comma goes before a coordinate conjunction that connects independent clauses. The fact that there are words in an independent clause that refer back to the first clause makes no difference. There is, however, a very sophisticated rule that not a …

Clarifying Terminology

Margie Wakeman Wells The Comma Leave a Comment

When we say, “Do not put a comma after ‘so,’” we are talking about a single separating comma. A pair of commas can go anywhere. There is never a single comma after “so.” We have this confusion often with this rule in several other contexts also. …So when did you join the company? …So, Mr. Anders, when did you join …

“Yes” and “No” and Their Friends

Margie Wakeman Wells The Comma 2 Comments

When yes and no or any of the words that indicate affirmative or negative are in the middle of a sentence, they are surrounded by commas. …And, yes, he did accompany us the first time. …He wasn’t there, no, when I needed him. …She stopped by to give us the news; but, no, she didn’t add any details. Happy punctuating! …