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Chapter 11

COM 101 Chapter Notes - Chapter 11: Relative Clause, Sentence Clause Structure, Apposition

Course Code
COM 101

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1. Commas with and, but, and or (and other coordinating conjunctions)
A coordinating conjunction is a word used to connect other words. The most common coordinating
conjunctions are and, but, and or
A coordinating conjunction can combine various words and groups of words. One of the most
common problems involving using a comma right before a coordinating conjunction in what is—or
what only appears to be—a compound sentence
Avoiding the problem: Commas and Complete Sentences
-Place a comma before a coordinating conjunction that is used to combine two sentences. Do
not use a comma when what comes after is not a complete sentence
-sentence #1 + comma + coordinating conjunction + sentence #2
comma indicates that what comes afterward is an idea that, even if related to the first part of the
sentence, is going in a new direction
the comma prepares readers for a new subject and a new verb
this creates a compound sentence
2. Commas with introductory elements
an introductory element is a general term used to refer to a word or group of words placed at the
front of the sentence—before the subject and verb
a comma is useful because it is a marker indicating where the “real” sentence begins—with the
subject and its verb
Grammar Tip: moving introductory elements
-If a word or group of words coming at the beginning of a sentence can be moved around, then
it is probably an introductory element
Avoiding the problem: playing it safe
-First, if possible, determine the preferences of your readers. Accept the fact that this is a gray
area of grammar and there is disagreement about whether commas after introductory elements
are optional, required, or undesirable. If it is not possible to make this determination, the safest
approach is to use a comma after all introductory elements
Exceptions to the suggestion of using a comma after all introductory elements:
A. One informal type of introductory element is the coordinating conjunction and normally a
comma should not be used in this situation
B. In certain professions (such as journalism), commas are usually left out after introductory
elements, unless doing so would clearly make the sentence difficult to understand
C. Although preferences in this matter are difficult to measure, there seems to be an increasing
number of organizations and businesses that prefer commas to be omitted after short
introductory elements
Other Areas of Agreement
A. You must use a comma if leaving it out could cause serious misreading of a sentence. If you
leave out the comma, there are times when the reader cannot tell if a word is the last part of
the introductory element or if it is the subject of the whole sentence
B. Even people who prefer that commas be used sparingly tend to agree that long introductory
elements require commas
3. Commas with adjective clauses
An adjective clause is a group of words that together describe a person, place, or thing
often begin with who, whom, whose, which, and that
Use a comma to set off an adjective clause only when it does not contain information that helps to
identify the person, place, or thing being described. If the noun or pronoun being described by the
clause is specific, then usually the clause does not contain important information. Use a comma
when this noun or pronoun being described is already specific and clear
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