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I am very weak with my grammar and apologize in advance for this stupid questions.

This is not verbatim the actual context, because it is relatively classified. However, I added new content that is really pointless in order to get my question across. I specifically am interested in the use of commas in this structured statement:

"According to the company's policy, the individual should ensure that the document is complete before the event, and when the event is in progress, have the office assistant complete form B101."

In my eyes, the "and when the event is in progress," is almost like an introductory statement following coordinating conjunction. I am unsure if the use of the commas is correct. I am well aware that the statement could be written better by including a period after "before the event"; However, I am unable to include a period in this statement due to rules that have been set forth by a higher power.

Please advise.

  • This question would be better suited to our beginner/novice site English Language Learners. Don't post questions here where they would be trivial to a fluent speaker. ELL: ell.stackexchange.com – Lordology Jan 4 at 16:34
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It seems the main communication here is that you want to have the assistant complete the form solely when the event is in progress, which gives you two or three options. Either just shift a single comma:

"According to the company's policy, the individual should ensure that the document is complete before the event and, when the event is in progress, have the office assistant complete form B101."

This puts the "event in progress" information into a parenthetical and lets the main clause of the sentence proceed as a single thought modified by that parenthetical.

Or you can dump the latter commas:

"According to the company's policy, the individual should ensure that the document is complete before the event, and when the event is in progress have the office assistant complete form B101."

This splits the main clause but eliminates the parenthetical hiccup.

You can also eliminate all but a single comma:

"According to the company's policy, the individual should ensure that the document is complete before the event and when the event is in progress have the office assistant complete form B101."

That feels a bit run-on, though it is nevertheless a clear statement.

  • Your first response: "According to the company's policy, the individual should ensure that the document is complete before the event and, when the event is in progress, have the office assistant complete form B101." Do you have some information on this? I would like to learn more about it. – JoeyFresh Jan 4 at 15:51
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You have two options:

  1. Make "when the event is in progress" a parenthetical by moving the second comma:

    According to the company's policy, the individual should ensure that the document is complete before the event and, when the event is in progress, have the office assistant complete form B101.

  2. Use "when the event is in progress" as an essential phrase, rather than a parenthetical, by removing the last two commas:

    According to the company's policy, the individual should ensure that the document is complete before the event and when the event is in progress have the office assistant complete form B101.

Removing only the final comma would be incorrect because the material after "and" does not have it's own subject and depends on the subject of the preceding clause ("the individual").

There are a great many other solutions that revise the wording of the sentence, of course.

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