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There are very few really hard-and-fast rules when it comes to commas in English. However, commas are there for a reason: to aid the reader in parsing the sentences he is currently reading by splitting them up into logical chunks that give hints as to what belongs together with what, and where the sentence would be broken up with pauses in speech. This ...


5

Written English is governed by the principle "Anything which can be misunderstood will be". There is thus no practical difference between a syntactical ambiguity and a semantic one: even if the ambiguity is resolvable with only a little effort, some readers will fail to make the effort and will either misunderstand your meaning or dismiss you as an idiot. ...


4

Yes, "the question is" at the beginning is some sort of introduction which has no effect on the following question. But if you take away the comma, now the rest has to count as a part of a larger construction, which is not a question: "The question is where we get the money to pay for it." Grammatically, this declares what the question is, rather than ...


4

She's not running for class president because she is scared Punctuation alone will not make your second sentence (quoted above) clear and unambiguous. If you want to say that she's running, but not because she's scared (implying another reason), better to relocate not She's running for class president, but not because she's scared.


3

The "rules" of commas are perhaps the vaguest in language, and many of them more guidelines than "rules" even in the minds of those most fond of enforcing rules. And those about whether or not to have them between two clauses the vaguest of the lot. That caveat said, you have perhaps the opposite case. Here you have an adverbial clause when it is complete. ...


3

Because you are addressing the subject ('sir') directly, you use a comma. "Happy Birthday, sir!" is correct. In the second question, you can simply add sir to the end and separate it with a comma: "Congratulations for completing another trip around the sun, sir!" As for whether the exclamation point is necessary, that depends entirely on one's ...


3

A comma is sufficient. It separates the main clause ('this pizza party is for you') from an adverbial clause describing the circumstances ('whether your favorite topping is cheese, pepperoni or sausage'). You could miss out the comma after 'pepperoni'.


3

It's the form used for names within the House of Grimaldi, or at least within the Monaco royal family. Similarly the website of the Palais Princier de Monaco gives the name of Albert II as "Son Altesse Sérénissime le Prince Albert, Alexandre, Louis, Pierre, Prince Souverain de Monaco" in French and "His Serene Highness Prince Albert, Alexandre, Louis, ...


3

A comma is usually used between adjectives that are parallel, that is, modify the same head in a noun phrase. This usage is essentially just a listing comma: you put commas before all entries in a list (including or excepting the final one that also has an and, depending on whether you like the Oxford comma or not). Example: A small, red, wooden(,) and ...


2

My default position would be to keep the commas, on the theory that "to me" functions here as a truncated form of the phrase "it seems to me." If the rest of the sentence were reasonably simple, you wouldn't—that is to say, I wouldn't—leave the phrase "it seems to me" unpunctuated if it were swapped into your original example: [...] which it seems to me ...


2

A general rule is that a comma should be used if the two modifiers both modify the noun, rather than the first one modifying the noun-phrase formed by the second modifier and the noun. A heavy, bulky box. A lovely hand-made toy. Heavy applies to box about as much as bulky does. Lovely applies to "hand-made toy". Three guides can help decide if ...


2

To replace 'to' with 'and' here would not be grammatically incorrect, but you would lose the rhythmic and rhetorical impact of the "from... to... to..." format of your sentence. Personally, I'd leave it as it is. Regarding another stylistic issue, I would replace ...gave me the conviction that this is the place for me. with the more elegant ...


2

If you want to emphasize your working with clients, you should use long dash instead of comma, imho. PS. This is a sidebar observation, but why go to the trouble of "be able to be"? Why don't we just say "As a result, I can understand and accommodate...."? I understand sometimes "be able to" followed by a verb sounds better/nicer than "can" followed by the ...


2

By including the comma in the example sentence, the author clearly packages "in part" with "because" instead of with "treadmill." Admittedly, the ambiguity isn't as great in your example as it may be in some others, but including the comma still seems to me to be at least somewhat helpful. For a more problematic example, consider this one: I want my ...


2

Break it up and omit needless words, e.g., Our brain is a fascinating and complex organ. Even though scientists are only beginning to make breakthroughs, someday, I believe, they will revolutionize people's lives.


2

Does Larry Trask give reasons for his rule? Why should we believe it? Why is it even worth discussing? In the examples, there is a change in intonation before the quoted material that is similar to the intonational change we use commas or other special punctuation for, elsewhere. Compare the pronunciation of Joe said this and Joe said "this". They sound ...


2

The question is: where do we get the money to pay for it?


1

When I started studying English, more years ago than I care to count, I was taught that, as an adverb at the end of a sentence, "though" should be preceded by a comma. That's the way I have always written it. A current search in mainstream dictionaries, however, shows that my teacher was only partially right. Most sources give examples of this adverb ...


1

Your first one is questionable. Your second two are justifiable, but awkward. They're probably the closest thing to an answer to the question of "what is the correct way to use a parenthetical clause about a subject while using the subject in the genitive?" but they're still awkward. Your last does the best by rephrasing to make the issue go away. So too ...


1

I think what you have is fine with the commas. However, if you want to make it even less ambiguous, you could reword it: As a result, I am able to be understanding and accommodating to the people that I work with, including clients, and I believe this is an important asset for a professional to have.


1

Yes, this is correct. This is an example of parenthetical commas. You may also use em-dashes or parentheses here: …the people that I work with, including clients, which I believe… …the people that I work with–including clients–which I believe… …the people that I work with (including clients) which I believe… In this case, I find commas ...


1

Your comma usage is fine. The problem I have with your sentence is that you have made it so concise that it's difficult to parse your intended meaning. I assume that what you mean to say is the following: One site was a community of computer technicians, and the other site was our government’s. Is the saving of two words really worth the opacity of ...


1

Can you see any hikers, using binoculars? Can you see any hikers using binoculars? Obviously, the comma is not 'necessary': both are grammatical. But the first sentence would usually be taken to mean Using binoculars, can you see any hikers? Whereas the second can either mean that, or Can you see any hikers who are using binoculars? ...


1

"Happy birthday, sir!" is correct. When addressing someone directly, writers should separate the name/pronoun being used (e.g. Sir, Madam, John, Mary, honey, you little rascal, my son) from rest of the sentence using a comma or commas.


1

Some people say since "so" is a transitional word… There aren't traditional words, there are traditional senses. Compare: Mix all of these ingredients together. Next, add the milk. I love Firefly. Next to Twin Peaks it is my favourite programme. I've deliberately picked a different "transitional word" to hopefully make it easier to see the ...


1

Is leaving out the "they" between "and" and "are" just for the sake of reading with a better flow or something? Yes, though it was probably not a fully-conscious decision; people will "just" write or speak like that naturally. Deciding not to omit the they could come across as adding an undue emphasis. Should it have just left out the comma? ...


1

Here is something that I found in the book The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr., fourth edition. It's in Chapter I, Elementary Rules Of Usage, page 5: 4 - Place a comma before a conjunction introducing an independent clause. [..] When the subject is the same for both clauses and is expressed only once, a comma is useful if the ...


1

A rather truer explanation of the limitations of the 'rule' is to be found at Textbroker: Commas and Coordinating Conjunctions (FANBOYS) You've seen the commentary, but what does that mean? Coordinating conjunctions are all of the following: For .... And .... Nor .... But .... Or .... Yet .... So You can remember them by being ...


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Try: The thermal conductivity of a material is dependent on its crystal structure, phase, microstructure, and (for semiconductors) doping level .


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You are saying that semiconductors are a subset of the class "materials" and that the semiconductor subset has an additional factor affecting thermal conductivity. Mere punctuation will not clearly communicate all of that information. To make it easier on your reader, be explicit and write something like, "and for semiconductors, doping level is an ...



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