the comma

Oh no, not the comma again.
Patience, dear writer, this is the last statement about the comma. And it’s about those terrible “nonrestrictive phrases or clauses.” You remember, they drove us nuts in school.

So what is a nonrestrictive clause? If the clause were taken out of the sentence, the sentence would maintain it’s original meaning.

My comma rule book gives this example: Several politicians, lawyers, and business leaders attended the conference, which began at 2 PM.
The last clause is the nonrestrictive clause. You can take it out of the sentence and the meaning would stay the same.

The rule is that you use commas to set off nonrestrictive clauses from the rest of the sentence.

These comma rules, which have appeared in my blog, are not important in themselves, but they help the reader understand the meaning of the writer. (of course, with lightening speed you knew that “which have appeared in my blog” was a nonrestrictive clause and therefore needed to be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. Good work, writer. You’ve earned an A plus)


4 responses to “the comma

  1. I always like this example to illustrate the importance of commas (and punctuation generally):

    “A woman without her man is nothing.”

    With the correct punctuation all becomes clear:

    “A woman: without her, man is nothing.”

    Also the famous panda who walks into a restaurant and eats, shoots and leaves. Or should that be ‘eats shoots and leaves’?

  2. Pingback: Just having a non-commaformist laugh! « Ralphie´s Portal·

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