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1.

The correct way to perform a conventional, or general, deadlift is to grip the bar on the outer rings with your index finger.

2.

The correct way to perform a conventional, or general deadlift is to grip the bar on the outer rings with your index finger.

3.

The correct way to perform a conventional or general deadlift is to grip the bar on the outer rings with your index finger.

Once in third grade my grammar teacher told me too many commas was bad. I don't know how true that statement is.

  • 1
    The second variant isn't acceptable, but it's your choice between the other two. For a small restatement (or general), I'd drop the commas. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 23 '15 at 21:33
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    Yeah, number 2 effectively says there's something called a "conventional", which is somehow like a "general deadlift". But it's hard to tell just how because the rest of the sentence doesn't fit. The test, in this case, is what you can remove. If you remove "or general" the sentence still sounds good and makes sense, so "or general" is a "parenthetical phrase" and should be set off by commas (or parentheses). Or, if using the "when in doubt/less is more" philosophy, leave both commas out. – Hot Licks Feb 23 '15 at 22:20
3

The third one is correct. You may also bring deadlift before conventional or general to get across main point quicker, i.e.:

The correct way to perform a deadlift (conventional or general), is to grip the bar on the outer rings with your index finger.

  • I was going to say the 3rd is correct too. No commas needed. – Michael Rize Feb 24 '15 at 5:37

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