Commas or no commas

 

Q:

Are the following sentences punctuated correctly?


1. Mary, John, Beth, among others, are the students who got the prize.
2. X, not Y, should be the winner.
3. Verbs, such as quit and avoid, should be followed by -ing form.

vera
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Posted 20 February 2003

A:

Are the following sentences punctuated correctly?

1. Mary, John, Beth, among others, are the students who got the prize.

Here's how I would write this sentence:

Mary, John, AND Beth, among others, are the students who got the prize.

The last item in a series is usually preceded by "and."

If you have a question about a comma after "students," it is correct as you have it, without the comma. This is an essential clause, meaning it is essential to the definition of the noun it modifies (students), so there must not be a comma.
_________________

2. X, not Y, should be the winner.

This sentence is fine.
_______________

3. Verbs, such as quit and avoid, should be followed by the -ing form.

No commas here. Like essential clauses, essential phrases do not have commas.

The phrase "such as quit and avoid" is essential to the description of the kind of verb that should be followed by the -ing form. The commas indicate that verbs, ALL verbs ?with "quit" and "avoid" given as examples ?should be followed by the -ing form. We know that this is not true.

Alternatively, you could use commas if the subject were "Certain verbs" or "Some verbs" instead of "Verbs."

Also, "form" is a singular count noun, and needs an article ?in this case "the" ?in front of it and its modifier "-ing."

Write the sentence like this:

Verbs such as "quit" and "avoid" should be followed by the "-ing" form.

OR

Certain verbs, such as "quit" and "avoid," should be followed by the "-ing" form.

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