Commas Exercise (285)

Edit the following sentences to insert commas where needed.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: When I saw the homeless man pull the cardboard over himself like a blanket there in the alleyway I saw the hypocrisy the unspeakable betrayal of American ideals of permitting a fellow citizen to live without basic human necessities.
Correct : When I saw the homeless man pull the cardboard over himself like a blanket there in the alleyway, I saw the hypocrisy, the unspeakable betrayal of American ideals, of permitting a fellow citizen to live without basic human necessities.

The first comma sets an introductory subordinate clause off from the main clause. The second comma sets off a parenthetical phrase from the phrase that goes with "hypocrisy."

2.
Original: Artemesia daughter of the king of Halicarnassus distinguished herself as a naval commander in the wars between the Greeks and the Persians.
Correct : Artemesia, daughter of the king of Halicarnassus, distinguished herself as a naval commander in the wars between the Greeks and the Persians.

The commas set off a nonessential phrase.

3.
Original: In the year following her graduation from Boston University Clara Lerner had held four jobs not difficult in Massachusetts where the unemployment rate at the time was among the lowest in the country.
Correct : In the year following her graduation from Boston University, Clara Lerner had held four jobs, not difficult in Massachusetts, where the unemployment rate at the time was among the lowest in the country.

The first comma sets off an introductory phrase. The commas that follow "jobs" sets off a nonessential phrase. The comma after "Massachusetts" sets off a clause that tells more about "Massachusetts."

4.
Original: As the Lanigans drew up in front of the Joyce house shortly before noon a group of half a dozen women all dressed like Amy in appropriately dark sober suits emerged.
Correct : As the Lanigans drew up in front of the Joyce house shortly before noon, a group of half a dozen women all dressed like Amy, in appropriately dark sober suits, emerged.

The first comma sets of the introductory adverbial clause. The comma after Amy and the one after suits sets off the prepositional phrase that tells how the women are dressed. The comma after dark is a serial comma.

5.
Original: When he came back to the office at two o’clock after his last class he found Cyrus Merton there waiting for him.
Correct : When he came back to the office at two o’clock, after his last class, he found Cyrus Merton there waiting for him.

Commas set off a nonessential prepositional phrase.

Related Articles

Subscribe to our articles and exercises