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Lecture 10

COM 140 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Henry Ford Ii


Department
Communications
Course Code
COM 140
Professor
Erik Ofgang
Lecture
10

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AP Punctuation
Essential vs. Nonessential phrases
Do not set an essential phrase off from the rest of a sentence by
commas:
- We saw the award-winning movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." (No comma,
because many movies have won awards, and without the name of the movie the reader
would not know which movie was meant.)
- They ate dinner with their daughter Julie. (Because they have more than one daughter, the
inclusion of Julie's name is critical if the reader is to know which daughter is meant.)
Set off nonessential phrases by commas:
- We saw the 1975 winner of the Academy Award competition for best picture, "One Flew
Over the Cuckoo's Nest." (Only one movie won the award. The name is informative, but
even without it no other movie could be meant.)
- They ate dinner with their daughter Julie and her husband, David. (Julie has only one
husband. If the phrase read and her husband David, it would suggest that she had more
than one husband.)
- The company chairman, Henry Ford II, spoke. (In the context, only one person could be
meant.)
- Indian corn, or maize, was harvested. (Maize provides the reader with the name of the
corn, but its absence would not change the meaning of the sentence.)
Which is correct?
1. We saw the 1975 winner of the Academy Award competition for best picture "One Flew
Over the Cuckoo's Nest." WRONG : (
2. We saw the 1975 winner of the Academy Award competition for best picture, "One Flew
Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Correct : )
3. We saw the award-winning movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Correct : )
4. We saw the award-winning movie, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Incorrect : (
5. Indian corn, or maize, was harvested. CORRECT
6. Indian corn or maize was harvested WRONG!
7. Indian corn or maize was, harvested WRONG!
Do not confuse punctuation rules for nonessential clauses with the
correct punctuation when a nonessential word is used as a descriptive
adjective.
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