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May I suggest that you keep on searching Asda or better yet go back to Primark.

It looks as if at least one comma is needed here. I was thinking:

May I suggest that you keep on searching Asda or, better yet, go back to Primark.

Are commas necessary?

  • If you choose two commas, the first one works better before the or. – Merk Oct 5 '12 at 4:51
  • Why not reduce the sentence to its essentials? "Do this or do that". You can add a comma before or if you like - that's just a stylistic choice. Whether you do or not, you should still normally enclose a "parenthetical clause" such as better yet within commas when you drop it into a sentence. – FumbleFingers Oct 5 '12 at 5:12
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If your question is 'need', in the sense it would be ungrammatical or incorrect without, then I must say 'No.' The sentence can be okay just the way it is, though only because commas are not necessary where the meaning of the sentence is unambiguous.

However, as the sentence is long and involved, I would definitely suggest parenthetical commas:

May I suggest that you keep on searching Asda or, better yet, go back to Primark.

Mainly because after all, 'better yet' is parenthetical in nature.

  • Isn't 'after all' also parenthetical? – Jim Oct 5 '12 at 4:42
  • @Jim Sure it is. My original word was 'afterall', which this grammar checker won't pass and had to break into the phrase 'after all'; a one-word parenthetical can go fine without commas. – Kris Oct 5 '12 at 4:44
  • @Kris: I agree your first sentence completely. Just because we often put commas round parenthetical clauses doesn't mean we must. We can also (again optionally) put a comma after "Asda", but the sentence becomes decidedly "top-heavy" if we add all three. – FumbleFingers Oct 5 '12 at 5:19
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Getting rid of the unnecessary "May I" fixes how the sentence reads without additional commas. Of course you may. You are making a suggestion anyway. The over-politeness just makes the sentence heavier.

  • I agree, Chris, but I need the sentence to remain as it is, apart from the punctuation. Would the sentence need commas as it is? – Joe White Oct 5 '12 at 3:14
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    I don't see how this addresses the question about commas as posed. – FumbleFingers Oct 5 '12 at 5:20
  • If the structure can't be changed even a little, then how about "May I suggest that you keep on searching Asda or better yet, go back to Primark." – Chris Oct 5 '12 at 7:45

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