Punctuation Exercise (634)

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: They suffered trauma that ranged from the truly horrific to the relatively minor, yet working with each of them, I was able to put them on the path to health.
Correct : They suffered trauma that ranged from the truly horrific to the relatively minor, yet, working with each of them, I was able to put them on the path to health.

The phrase "working with each of them" is parenthetical to the second clause, which would otherwise read, "yet I was able to put them on the path to health," so a comma is required before "working."

2.
Original: Today, students are continuing their education, and in the process, securing the promise of better-paying jobs in the future.
Correct : Today, students are continuing their education and, in the process, securing the promise of better-paying jobs in the future.

This sentence has a grammatical structure similar to that of the previous one; "in the process" is an interjection requiring framing commas.

3.
Original: When scaled up to the 2.7 trillion miles Americans travel each year by car, scientists say water could become the limiting factor for our biofuels craze.
Correct : When scaled up to the 2.7 trillion miles Americans travel each year by car, scientists say, water could become the limiting factor for our biofuels craze.

The sentence implies that scientists make a statement while they are scaled up to a certain number of miles. However, "scientists say" is a parenthetical that identifies those who describe water as a potential limiting factor, so, a comma must follow "say."

4.
Original: We found that our interpretations are often in the consensus majority, indeed more so than other submissions when benchmarked equivalently.
Correct : We found that our interpretations are often in the consensus majority—indeed, more so than other submissions when benchmarked equivalently.

The interjection "indeed" must be set off from the rest of the sentence, and because the clause beginning with "indeed" is a sudden break in grammatical structure from the previous clause, a dash is called for.

5.
Original: She asked to go to the ladie’s room.
Correct : She asked to go to the ladies’ room.

In a misguided attempt at consistency with "men’s," the possessive form of "ladies" is sometimes written with the apostrophe preceding the "s." (This type of error is sometimes called a greengrocer’s apostrophe, from its common appearance on handwritten signs in shop windows.)

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