Newbie having comma issues

Some grammar rules (and embarrassing mistakes!) transcend the uniqueness of different regions and style guides. This new International Grammar section by OnlineBookClub.org ultimately identifies those rules thus providing a simple, flexible rule-set, respecting the differences between regions and style guides. You can feel free to ask general questions about spelling and grammar. You can also provide example sentences for other members to proofread and inform you of any grammar mistakes.
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Bianka Walter
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Newbie having comma issues

Post by Bianka Walter » 31 Mar 2018, 12:18

Hi everyone,

So I see that I'm not the only one that has issues when it comes to commas. The last review I wrote was particularly dismal. There was a sentence that I questioned a few times, but in the end, decided it was right. I was wrong.
I would like to ask opinions on this sentence and get some feedback. It reads as follows:
"Ultimately, those things are swept under the rug as they are introduced to demons, telepathy and possession, and of course… monsters."
I understand that when listing things, commas are needed to separate the list items, however, in this case, I wanted to group telepathy and possession into one item.
Should I have chosen instead to use semi-colons?
Should I have separated the two, even though they went hand in hand in the book?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Post by CatInTheHat » 31 Mar 2018, 14:27

I would ask the editor to re-check and explain why. But don't do this if there were more than 4 errors mentioned, as it won't change your score if there are still going to be 4+ errors as you can only ask for re-checks 3 times. And no to semi-colons.
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Bianka Walter
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Post by Bianka Walter » 31 Mar 2018, 14:41

CatInTheHat wrote:
31 Mar 2018, 14:27
I would ask the editor to re-check and explain why. But don't do this if there were more than 4 errors mentioned, as it won't change your score if there are still going to be 4+ errors as you can only ask for re-checks 3 times. And no to semi-colons.
Thanks so much! I feel really bad asking for a recheck. I don't want to sound unappreciative :oops: But seeing there are 10 points in it, I will.
And no to semi-colons. Thought so. Got it :)
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Post by lbhatters » 04 Apr 2018, 08:29

I am a professional editor of more than 140 scientific manuscripts and have coordinated with scientific publishing editors for ten years. I have never known any publisher that has not allowed the grouping of several words in a list, as in your example. I think it is not incorrect.
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Post by tanya shukla » 11 Apr 2018, 09:35

Comma is big issue in my writing as well, very often I am confused as to where to put,,,, any suggestions

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Post by 4cynthia72 » 11 Apr 2018, 15:01

I think you should have used "and" before the last listed word because one my think you have finished listing when you mentioned 'and possession'. I think it should be: "Ultimately, those things are swept under the rug as they are introduced to demons, telepathy, possesion and of course monsters.

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 12 Apr 2018, 00:46

Bianka Walter wrote:
31 Mar 2018, 12:18

"Ultimately, those things are swept under the rug as they are introduced to demons, telepathy and possession, and of course… monsters."
I understand that when listing things, commas are needed to separate the list items, however, in this case, I wanted to group telepathy and possession into one item.
Should I have chosen instead to use semi-colons?
Should I have separated the two, even though they went hand in hand in the book?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
The sentence isn't incorrect if you want to group "telepathy and possession" together but as you've seen, there's a danger of misreading. I would second the suggestion to submit a recheck request explaining how it was meant to be read. Otherwise, a solution could be to use "as well as" instead of "and":

Ultimately ... they are introduced to demons as well as telepathy and possession, and of course ... monsters.

OR: ... they are introduced to demons and telepathy and possession, as well as ... monsters, of course. (I don't like that as much as it weakens the emphasis on the word monsters).

My top tip: read the section on commas in the Chicago Manual of Style.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 14 Apr 2018, 22:22

I agree that it isn't incorrect but when I read it I thought a comma would have been preferable. I may change my mind upon reading the entire paragraph to gain more contextual info but just seeing this sentence alone there wasn't an obvious link between telepathy and possession that didn't also include demons and monsters. Upon deeper reflection I can see that demons and monsters are beings and telepathy and possession are abilities so it makes sense if it is clear from context you grouped for a reason. That being said, I had to let it process for a minute before I came up with that link.

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Bianka Walter
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Post by Bianka Walter » 15 Apr 2018, 03:01

kfwilson6 wrote:
14 Apr 2018, 22:22
I agree that it isn't incorrect but when I read it I thought a comma would have been preferable. I may change my mind upon reading the entire paragraph to gain more contextual info but just seeing this sentence alone there wasn't an obvious link between telepathy and possession that didn't also include demons and monsters. Upon deeper reflection I can see that demons and monsters are beings and telepathy and possession are abilities so it makes sense if it is clear from context you grouped for a reason. That being said, I had to let it process for a minute before I came up with that link.
You're absolutely right. After thinking it over, it actually helped me with my next reviews. So instead of making a sentence wishy-washy, I've tried to be more clear. I did ask for a recheck and the editor did give me the points, but I totally agree that it wasn't obvious and I should have made it more so. Thanks so much for your feedback!
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Post by Mildred Tabitha » 13 May 2018, 00:35

I had a problem with comma and still have. I never used to put comma before"which". It is only recently that I learned I should put a comma before"Which" in every sentence that I have used the word somewhere between.
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Post by jgraney8 » 18 May 2018, 18:00

No, Mildred, you should not assume that you should put a comma before which every time. Read the explanation on Grammarly about using commas with which. When the which clause is necessary for understanding the sentence, you shouldn't use a comma, but you usually will use that in those cases.

Here are a couple of examples from StackExchange where the comma is not used to set off the relative clause.
  • The computer which I bought yesterday has broken down already.
  • Do you have the screwdriver which you borrowed last week?
In each sentence, the which-clause provides defining or essential information for understanding the sentence.
When the clause is defining, essential, or restrictive (it depends on which grammar book you use), no comma is used.

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Post by CatInTheHat » 19 May 2018, 13:25

jgraney8 wrote:
18 May 2018, 18:00
No, Mildred, you should not assume that you should put a comma before which every time. Read the explanation on Grammarly about using commas with which. When the which clause is necessary for understanding the sentence, you shouldn't use a comma, but you usually will use that in those cases.

Here are a couple of examples from StackExchange where the comma is not used to set off the relative clause.
  • The computer which I bought yesterday has broken down already.
  • Do you have the screwdriver which you borrowed last week?
In each sentence, the which-clause provides defining or essential information for understanding the sentence.
When the clause is defining, essential, or restrictive (it depends on which grammar book you use), no comma is used.
"That" would work in both of the above examples.
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Post by jgraney8 » 19 May 2018, 14:14

Here are a couple of examples from StackExchange where the comma is not used to set off the relative clause.
  • The computer which I bought yesterday has broken down already.
  • Do you have the screwdriver which you borrowed last week?
In each sentence, the which-clause provides defining or essential information for understanding the sentence.
When the clause is defining, essential, or restrictive (it depends on which grammar book you use), no comma is used.
"That" would work in both of the above examples.
[/quote]


Yes, it would and may even be preferable to many ears, but which also works.

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Post by love_b00ks » 21 May 2018, 06:10

Wow! This thread is helpful! I also had some issues with commas. My review scores are very inconsistent. Thanks for the inputs here. Will keep coming back to read.

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Post by trajoe1206 » 30 May 2018, 15:57

I too have had some issues with commas and always use grammarly and scribens before submitting, but still managed to get errors - very confused

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