Punctuation Exercise (753)

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

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: There are plenty of things to be scared of in this world: terrorism and natural disasters to name a few.
Correct : There are plenty of things to be scared of in this world: terrorism and natural disasters, to name a few.

The tag phrase must be set off from the independent clause with a comma.

2.
Original: We usually see some of these because of soil issues but this year there were more and we’re certain it’s a water issue.
Correct : We usually see some of these because of soil issues, but this year there were more, and we’re certain it’s a water issue.

The three segments of this sentence, all independent clauses, should be set off from each other by punctuation.

3.
Original: He’s counting on El Niño as his sole water supply is rain.
Correct : He’s counting on El Niño, as his sole water supply is rain.

The subordinate clause, "as his sole water supply is rain," must be set off from the main clause by a comma.

4.
Original: "Just before the first minibus rises into the air, you can see a faint line to the left," Smith said. "Which police believe was a cable or thick wire that accidentally fell into the road and wrapped around the vehicles, lifting them into the air."
Correct : "Just before the first minibus rises into the air, you can see a faint line to the left," Smith said, "which police believe was a cable or thick wire that accidentally fell into the road and wrapped around the vehicles, lifting them into the air."

The two quotations, though separated by an attribution ("Smith said"), are two halves of a single sentence, so the punctuation that follows the attribution should be a comma, and "which" should not be capitalized.

5.
Original: Luxor, in southern Egypt, served as the pharaonic capital in ancient times, and is home to sprawling temples and several ancient tombs.
Correct : Luxor, in southern Egypt, served as the pharaonic capital in ancient times and is home to sprawling temples and several ancient tombs.

Because what follows the first "and" is not an independent clause, no punctuation is required before the conjunction.

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