Monday, April 30, 2007

Grammar: Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them (Part 3 - Missing comma in compound sentence)

In a compound sentence, a comma is needed to break it up. A compound sentence consists of two clauses that could otherwise stand alone. Place a comma before the coordinating conjunction that joins two independent clauses. These two clauses are joined by the comma and a conjunction such as “and,” “but,” or “or.”

The jurors went to deliberate, and the attorneys prepared for a long wait.

In this sentence, if you take out the comma, replace it with a period, and get rid of “and,” you have two separate sentences:

The jurors went to deliberate. The attorneys prepared for a long wait.

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