Re: Comma question

Subject: Re: Comma question
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2013 12:15:13 -0700

You received a lot of good suggestions and some suggestions may have said too much.

One rule of commas in the sense that you may be using this one is that the parts of the sentence that are separated by the comma should work when their positions are switched and the comma is removed. For example, "2, 1" would be "1 2" and make logical sense either way. Your sentence fails this test, since it screams for the comma when the phrases are switched, even when you add the missing object.

It is really not clear from your sentence construction what the phrase is qualifying. Is it events, numbers, or actors and events? If it qualifies numbers, then put it after numbers. If it qualifies events, then replace the comma with "that are." If it qualifies actors and events, then delete the comma.

Whatever the case, I think the sentence needs a rewrite. It is awkward.


On 7/19/2013 9:28 AM, Karen Felker wrote:

A reviewer is disputing my use of a comma in this sentence that describes a clustering algorithm: "Assigns numbers to actors and events, based on natural groups called clusters."

I want to defend this comma, but I'm not sure how to do that. Does "based" introduce an adverbial phrase, because it describes the assigning process?
I find it confusing to change the sentence to say "Assigns numbers, based on natural groups called clusters, to actors and events."
Same with this rewrite: "Assigns numbers to actors and events. The numbers are based on natural groups called clusters."

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Comma question: From: Karen Felker

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