Punctuation Exercise (603)

In each sentence, revise one or more punctuation marks to reflect correct usage.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: The Warriors and the Cavaliers don’t tip off for a couple of days—Thursday to be exact—and the down time between games has let players enjoy some much-needed free hours.
Correct : The Warriors and the Cavaliers don’t tip off for a couple of days—Thursday, to be exact—and the down time between games has let players enjoy some much-needed free hours.

In the parenthetical "Thursday, to be exact," "to be exact" is itself a parenthetical that must be set off by a comma.

2.
Original: Micromanagers continually jump in, give orders, and get the job done, however they don’t always get the best results, because they are not tapping in to the talent around them.
Correct : Micromanagers continually jump in, give orders, and get the job done. However, they don’t always get the best results, because they are not tapping in to the talent around them.

This sentence contains a comma splice: "However" begins a second independent clause, so it must begin a new sentence. (A semicolon preceding "however" is also technically correct.) It also requires a following comma.

3.
Original: Incomplete as the tyrannosaurus story is, it still reveals a deeper truth about evolution—namely that it is not predictable.
Correct : Incomplete as the tyrannosaurus story is, it still reveals a deeper truth about evolution—namely, that it is not predictable.

Namely, as a conjunctive adverb—an adverb similar in function to conjunctions such as "however"—should be set off with a comma from the phrase that follows it.

4.
Original: King’s eldest surviving daughter Shirley King of the Chicago area said she was upset that she didn’t have a chance to see her father before he died.
Correct : King’s eldest surviving daughter, Shirley King, of the Chicago area, said she was upset that she didn’t have a chance to see her father before he died.

"Shirley King of the Chicago area" is a nonessential part of the sentence, so it should be treated parenthetically. In formal writing, "of the Chicago area" should further be set off from the name, though intervening punctuation is often omitted in journalistic and other informal prose. (However, "who lives near Chicago" is a more elegant description.)

5.
Original: Anything this movie can do once, it does twice, no, many more times.
Correct : Anything this movie can do once, it does twice—no, many more times.

Because of multiple commas, the disruptive function of "no"—starting the sentence off in a new direction—is lost. To emphasize the break in thought, a stronger punctuation mark is required, and the dash fits the need.

Related Articles

Subscribe to our articles and exercises