Grammar Question

This is a request for all my fellow grammar Nazis out there. Please place the commas where they belong:

I am Jane and I have come to rescue you John.

I am Jane, and I have come to rescue you, John.

That first comma is because this is an additive sentence, with two independent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction.

(And I prefer “grammar lover.”)


Only a true grammar enthusiast would know how to correct this sentence:

Her name was Jane and she brought me here with hopes, hopes that I would save them from the monsters Fred and Walter. When she told me this I had no choice but to help them.

“Her name was Jane, and she brought me here with hopes, hopes that I would save them from the monsters, Fred and Walter. When she told me this, I had no choice but to help them.”

That’s all the punctuation. Let’s talk style.

What about “After she told me this, I had to help them.”?

I’m not a huge fan of “choice but.” It always hits my ear a little clunkily.

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The biggest issue I have are sentences that have that “but” in them. In grade school my teachers ingrained within me to always put a comma before “but” and to never start a sentence with the word. But, (hehe, see what I did there) on my own time I realized that grade school teachers don’t know Jack and there are plenty of occasions not to include a comma before “but.” In fact, I use “but” more often in cases where a comma shouldn’t be found. A couple of examples:

I had no choice but to cooperate.

He’s nothing but a clown.

However, it always nags at me. Are these sentences correct? Also, in the previous example, would it not be correct to place a semicolon because these are two independant clauses?

She brought me here with hopes; hopes that I would save them.

Here’s the trick.

Look at everything before “but”–is that a whole sentence?
Look at everything after “but”–is that a whole sentence?

If the answer to both questions is “yes,” use a comma before “but.”

So in the two examples you give, “I had no choice” is a whole sentence, but “to cooperate” isn’t. So no comma.
“He’s nothing” is a sentence. “a clown” isn’t. So no comma.

This stuff is also the case for the word “and,” by the way.

Semicolons are cinchy. You stick them between two independent clauses.

“I love you, and you love me.”
“I love you; you love me.”
“I love you. You love me.”

You can tell I love grammar because I am pausing the penultimate episode of Westworld to write this.


That is what is called a cumulative sentence, otherwise known as my favorite kind of sentence.

It’s an independent clause (a whole sentence) and a dependent clause (a not-whole sentence)

“She brought me here with hopes” = whole sentence
“hopes that I would save them” = not whole sentence

So you connect those with a single comma.

She brought me here with hopes, hopes that I would save them.

Well I was just lazy and didn’t quote the entire thing. :sweat_smile:

In the case of:

Her name was Jane, and she brought me here with hopes; hopes that I would save them from the monsters, Fred and Walter.

A semicolon would be used, correct?

No, it’s a comma–it’s a cumulative sentence. “hopes that I would save them from the monsters, Fred and Walter” is not a complete sentence.

Ah, okay!

+1000 EXP, Level 10 Grammar Achieved!

According to Hemingway and McCarthy commas are unnecessary and can indeed cause an impedance in the natural progression of thoughts we humans manifest as a matter of consciousness and understanding of our nature and the very nature of the natural world yet without the filter of punctuation we suffer from a very real and quite discernible exhaustion that compounds upon us in such a way that at the end of a particularly complicated and unrelenting sentence we may find our concentration so focused that we actually must inspire forcefully to maintain consciousness.


English is clunky. How else does one explain


American English has five vowels. Twelve of these five can be heard by saying beet, bit, bait, bite, bat, baht, bought, but, boot, boat, bout, and beaut.


As I was shown this wonderful video earlier in my thread, I shall pass it along here.

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That’s not an expression of clunky, that’s just hilarious.

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Shouldn’t one of those buffalos be “buffaloed”? All the reduced relative clauses I can think of use the past tense.

I’ll change buffalo (n.) to “oxen,” buffalo (v.) to tickle and “Buffalo” to Boston.

Boston oxen (that) Boston oxen tickle, tickle Boston oxen.

It’s kind of a silly parlor trick, isn’t it?

Yes. :slight_smile: But I don’t yet see how taking it from five to eight is grammatical. Can you really drop the “that” for a clause in the present tense? Boston oxen Boston-oxen-tickled tickle Boston oxen, I could get…

It’s like “The classes first-year students take are challenging.”

The implied (that) is between “classes” and “first-year.”

I think I would suggest that any student of mine add the “that” if I saw it in a composition class, though…

This is a common trait among Professors - in my experience nine out of ten “suggest” when they really “command” …