Commas with Conjunctions Exercise (213)

Comma usage is not an exact science, but some general rules usually apply. When a sentence contains a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or), the rule is, if the conjunction is followed by an independent clause, put a comma before the conjunction. If the words that follow the conjunction do not make up an independent clause, no comma is needed. Edit the following sentences to include commas where needed.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: I may go to France this summer or I may stay home and write another novel.
Correct : I may go to France this summer, or I may stay home and write another novel.

Use a comma before "or" because it is followed by an independent clause, "I may stay home and write another novel." No comma before "and" because "write another novel" is not an independent clause.

2.
Original: Jack Lord was noted for his role as Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-0 and for his work as an artist.
Correct : Jack Lord was noted for his role as Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-0 and for his work as an artist.

No comma needed because the "and" in this sentence connects two prepositional phrases: "for his role..." and "for his work...."

3.
Original: Vulgarity of speech and action is increasing in the media but some intrepid parents are managing to bring up civilized children in spite of it.
Correct : Vulgarity of speech and action is increasing in the media, but some intrepid parents are managing to bring up civilized children in spite of it.

Comma needed because the "but" is followed by an independent clause: "some intrepid parents are managing to bring up civilized children in spite of it."

4.
Original: Happiness is when what you think what you say and what you do are in harmony.
Correct : Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

Two commas are needed as the clauses are all dependent.

5.
Original: We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.
Correct : We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Comma needed because the conjunction "but" is followed by an independent clause: "some of us are looking at the stars."

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