Punctuation Exercise (628)

In each sentence, revise one or more punctuation marks to reflect correct usage; one or more sentences may be correct.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: Health and safety consulting firm, Protecting.co.uk surveyed over 2,600 workers in office, factory, retail, and public-sector agencies.
Correct : Health and safety consulting firm Protecting.co.uk surveyed over 2,600 workers in office, factory, retail, and public-sector agencies.

The comma preceding the company name serves no grammatical purpose and obstructs the flow of the sentence. (A comma—a pair of commas, actually—is required only when an article precedes the description: "A health and safety consulting firm, Protecting.co.uk, surveyed . . ." or "The health and safety consulting firm, Protecting.co.uk, surveyed . . . .")

2.
Original: Metaphors are good tools for exploring social issues; especially ones where the people involved are vested in the definitions and solutions.
Correct : Metaphors are good tools for exploring social issues—especially ones where the people involved are vested in the definitions and solutions.

The use of a semicolon in this sentence is erroneous, because what follows is a subordinate clause, not an independent clause. In this case, a dash, because there is a break in the grammatical flow of the sentence, is most appropriate, though a simple comma is also correct.

3.
Original: The Pride Parade, an internationally known spectacle of floats, music, motorcycles, and colorfully dressed spectators is scheduled for Sunday morning.
Correct : The Pride Parade, an internationally known spectacle of floats, music, motorcycles, and colorfully dressed spectators, is scheduled for Sunday morning.

The base sentence here is "The Pride Parade is scheduled for Sunday morning." What intervenes is a parenthetical, which requires framing punctuation, so a comma is required after "spectators" to match the one following "Pride Parade."

4.
Original: The teacher leader possesses a deep understanding of teaching and learning, and models an attitude of continuous learning and reflective practice for colleagues.
Correct : The teacher leader possesses a deep understanding of teaching and learning, and models an attitude of continuous learning and reflective practice for colleagues.

The comma before "and models" here is correct even though what follows the conjunction is not an independent clause; the punctuation distinguishes the second clause from the first clause so that "models" is read as a verb, not as a noun equivalent to "teaching" and "learning." Better yet, introduce a pronoun between "and" and models" (in this case, "he or she," or revise to "Teacher leaders . . . and they model . . . .")

5.
Original: Reddit cofounder and chairman, Alexis Ohanian released a statement on the blackout.
Correct : Reddit cofounder and chairman Alexis Ohanian released a statement on the blackout.

As with the first item in this quiz, the comma in this sentence is extraneous. Commas framing the person’s name (after as well as before) would be appropriate if the company name were in the possessive form ("Reddit’s").

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