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Can someone please tell me if this sentence is correct?

Please read and make sure you understand this important information.

Or would I need commas?

Please read, and make sure you understand, this important information.

Or do I mix it up and say:

Please read this important information and make sure you understand it.

Thank you :)

  • If you want to emphasize your audience reading, then I'd go with sentence #1. If you want to emphasize the information is important, I'd go with sentence #3. Sentence #2 contains too many commas. – Othya Aug 23 '18 at 14:07
  • Sentence #2 contains a comma splice; I'd say, Please read and make sure you understand this important information. – Alejandro Aug 23 '18 at 14:19
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The first two versions of the sentence are fine, but there is a difference between them.

In the first, without the commas, you are directly instructing somebody to both read and understand the information. In other words, just reading it isn't sufficient.

Although you are effectively communicating the same thing in the version with the commas, the use of the paired commas makes what's enclosed in them seem less important.

Stylistically, this presentation is normally used to present something optional to the sentence. In this case, because of the conjunction, the information is not taken to be optional but it still has that form about it.

When reading it with the commas, readers will pause at each comma and tend to treat the information between the commas as an aside.

In other words, from the viewpoint of the sentence itself, it would be the same as saying, "Please read this important information. Oh, and make sure you understand it."

In practical terms, nobody would misunderstand what you were trying to convey, so this is a subtle point that may have no relevance to you in this case.

But if you want to be as direct as possible, use the first sentence.


Note that the only real difference between the first and third versions of the sentence is personal preference.

  • There is a difference between sentences 1 and 3. In sentence one 'read' is intransitive while 'understand' is transitive, but in sentence 3 both 'read' and 'understand' are both transitive. Semantically and pragmatically they are the same, just not syntactically. I'd normally not be so pedantic, but this is a board about grammar and syntax, so I went full pedant. – Michael Apr 6 at 18:58
  • @Michael Wow. I would never have interpreted read in the first sentence as being intransitive. In order to do that, you're parsing it as (1) Please read. (2) Please make sure you understand this important information. But (until just now) I parsed it as (1) Please read this important information. (2) Please understand this important information. I interpreted this important information as applying to both verbs in the conjunction. In this case, the syntax is only different depending on how it's interpreted. (Although it's true that the construction is different.) – Jason Bassford Apr 6 at 21:33
  • Both are certainly valid, but on a fresh look I would parse it as you did as well. Posting at 3am may not have been the best choice. – Michael Apr 7 at 1:18

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