Punctuation Exercise (541)

In each sentence below, insert, omit, or revise punctuation as needed.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: The company completely changed the way a lot of new products are being pitched nowadays—namely utensils and household appliances.
Correct : The company completely changed the way a lot of new products are being pitched nowadays—namely, utensils and household appliances.

Just as with any other adverb used in this type of construction, a comma should follow "namely."

2.
Original: My three favorite ice cream flavors are: green tea, mint, and pistachio.
Correct : My three favorite ice cream flavors are green tea, mint, and pistachio.

The colon is redundant to the verb "are" in introducing what follows. (If the colon is used instead of "are," it would be better to start the sentence with "These are my . . . .")

3.
Original: The reported behaviors, if true are a clear violation of our code of conduct and will not be tolerated.
Correct : The reported behaviors, if true, are a clear violation of our code of conduct and will not be tolerated.

The phrase "if true" is an interjection—it can be omitted without altering the sentence’s meaning, so it must be followed as well as preceded by another comma. (Alternately, the phrase can be bracketed in dashes or parentheses.)

4.
Original: John Smith, pastor of the Community Baptist Church said that the incident is a wake-up call that the community needs to address its racial issues.
Correct : John Smith, pastor of the Community Baptist Church, said that the incident is a wake-up call that the community needs to address its racial issues.

The phrase "pastor of the Community Baptist Church" is a nonessential parenthetical phrase that identifies John Smith’s position. A comma must follow the phrase to signal that the main clause is resuming.

5.
Original: Six percent of the world’s oil production comes from Siberia, a large part of Russia’s coal and natural gas production also comes from this area.
Correct : Six percent of the world’s oil production comes from Siberia. A large part of Russia’s coal and natural gas production also comes from this area.
Alterna.: Six percent of the world's oil production comes from Siberia; a large part of Russia's coal and natural gas production also comes from this area.

This sentence is weakened by an erroneous comma splice. The clause that begins "A large part" is independent, so either a conjunction must precede the clause, or stronger punctuation—a period marking a new sentence, or at least a semicolon—is required.

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