Which of these is correct? I assumed it was the first given the conjuction, noun (the party) and predicate (be banished), but saw the latter used..

  • 2
    Well... do you want the person reading to pause between "obey" and "or"? Comma usage is often a matter of style, not a matter of prescription... I think this is one of those cases. – Catija Aug 5 '16 at 22:57
  • @Catija On a strict, technical level, which is correct? – btan90 Aug 5 '16 at 23:03
  • ... Pretty sure the answer is "both". Without knowing your intent, either is possible. – Catija Aug 5 '16 at 23:05
  • If that's the full sentence, keep the comma. If it's embedded in something else, e.g. "They were given the choice to obey or be banished from the party", then leave out the comma. I think the discriminating factor is whether obey is to be read as an integral part of the "... or ..." phrase, or whether it is intended to be separate from the phrase on the other side of the word "or". – Lawrence Aug 6 '16 at 0:00
  • Both are correct. They mean slightly different things. – Hot Licks Aug 6 '16 at 2:21

It seems to me like the first expression is sort of like an imperative, although perhaps it should have an exclamation point at the end, whereas the second expression is inviting you to make a choice between two things. But then again, I may be wrong, in which case someone can correct me.

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