2

I'm a bit confused about where to put commata in a "though, since, for example" construction. The sentence I used reads:

The class of cofibrant objects is larger than the class of CW--complexes, though, since, for example, a retract of a cellular map is not necessarily cellular.

This looks horrible and hard to read, imho. Googling for "though since for example" yielded various variations of comma placements, including mine. So the question is: which of the four commata may I omit, if any.

Edit To avoid problems with the technical details, the sentence syntactically identical to

Not everything that grows on a tree is a fruit, though, since, for example, walnuts grow on trees.

  • 2
    Ignoring the obscure technical semantics, I don't understand the intended syntactic structure of the cited text. It doesn't look like a complete "sentence" to me, since I would expect an additional "contrastive" clause as heralded by though. If in fact the contrast is between the text before and after though, I'd remove it and add something a bit clearer - such as But at the start of the text. – FumbleFingers May 26 '16 at 13:42
  • @FumbleFingers The syntactic structure is the same as in "Not everything that grows on a tree is a fruit, though, since, for example, walnuts grow on trees." – Roman Bruckner May 26 '16 at 14:06
  • 1
    I think maybe I understand the syntactic structure, though a bit more context would make it clearer. In any event, the sentence reads poorly however you sprinkle commas about in it. I would advise you to rewrite it. Something like this might do: "The class of cofibrant objects is larger than the class of CW--complexes, though; for example, a retract of a cellular map is not necessarily cellular." – PellMel May 26 '16 at 14:06
  • @Roman: In which case, as I said, I'd discard though and add But at the start. The structure of your examples would be less awkward in a spoken context (where there'd certainly be no pause before though, which should give you a clue that you don't want a comma there), but it's never going to be great. I'd also suggest moving for example to the end of the statement, since there's no sense in making your audience or reader divert attention to decoding the syntactic structure of an utterance if you want them to concentrate attention on the meaning. – FumbleFingers May 26 '16 at 15:13
  • 1
    @PellMel: If I imagine someone speaking OP's alternative sentence, it just seems overloaded with pointless verbiage. Why bother to say though, since at all? Neither word contributes anything that isn't contextually obvious. At least for example serves as an explicit warning that should the speaker wish, he could probably cite further cases to refute the initial proposition. The other two are just "padding" to me, which in this precise context is counterproductive to information transfer, rather than merely neutral. In writing, brevity is usually a virtue. – FumbleFingers May 26 '16 at 18:26
1

"Not everything that grows on a tree is a fruit though." can stand its own as a compete sentence, with no need for a comma.
"…since for example…" seems fine as a linking phrase with or without a comma in it, although it must be separated by a comma before and after it.
"Not everything that grows on a tree is a fruit though, since for example, walnuts grow on trees." seems to be grammatically correct then, and is also more easily understood than the version with the extra commas, although that is not to say that it is necessarily incorrect with the extra commas.

1

Although I would normally hate to say this, if Google says it, it should be alright. All versions are acceptable, but not all are commendable. As you said, it sounds horrible and distorted to a reader and confused structure and tone and all kinds of things. Use whatever is least distorting and most coherent. For example, I feel "though since, for example" should be fine.

1

I'm not familiar with your subject matter (cellular biology, perhaps?), but the only word in your list that makes sense to me is "since." For example,

The class of amphibians is larger than the class of salamanders, since amphibians also include frogs, caecilians, toads and newts as well. [Note that "since" could be replaced with "as."]

Generally speaking, the second clause that begins with "as, though, since, or for example," can be set off with a single comma for clarity as in the example above. (However, note that I have purposely not used a comma in that last sentence, since it is not needed to improve comprehension.)

"Though since for example" is wordy and probably unnecessary. You might choose to state,

"The class of cofibrant objects is larger than the class of CW-complexes, as (to cite one example) a retract of a cellular map is not necessarily cellular."

Here I have put "to cite one example" in parentheses to avoid the use of two additional commas. I could have used "for example" instead of "to cite one example," which I used to vary the language. However, you have to determine if that statement as I rewrote it is true, or whether I have misunderstood your meaning.

  • Once you've introduced the brackets/parentheses, there are numerous ways to phrase this more clearly, e.g. a simple The class of cofibrant objects is larger than the class of CW--complexes, though/however (since/as, for example, a retract of a cellular map is not necessarily cellular). – Prof Yaffle May 26 '16 at 14:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.