Scientific English as a Foreign Language
Answers to Lesson of March 27, 1998
Today I follow closely the book "The Elements of Style", by Strunk and White, Macmillian Company, New York (1972). If you buy only one English grammar/composition book, this is it. It's only 78 pages, but it has all of the important points.
black and green
red, white, and blue
copper, silver, or gold
Commas should come before the 'and' or 'or'. Otherwise it's not clear if the last two are one item or two. An example is
He lunched on a sandwich, and a glass of milk and coffee.
Now is that a glass of (milk and coffee), or a glass of (milk), and (coffee)? However, in publication lists or company name, where it is clear that the operative unit of interest is individual people, it's acceptable to drop the last comma.
a publication by Burnham, Colton and Pollock
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated
The best way to see a country, unless you are pressed for time, is to
travel on foot.
Majorie's husband, Colonel Nelson, paid us a visit yesterday.
I think, yes, that it's true.
The lawn mower, which is in the gargage, is broken.
BUT! (Review the lesson of January 23.)
The lawn mower that is in the gargage is broken.
Dates and titles are usually parenthetic. Thus write,
James Wright, Jr.
Well, Susan, this is a fine mess that you are in.
Horace Fulsome, Ph.D., presided February to July, 1972
April 6, 1956
Wednesday, November 13, 1929
But note that 6 April 1958 takes no commas.
The early records of the city have disappeared, and the story of its
first years can no longer be reconstructed.
The situation is perilous, but there is still one chance of escape.
If the sentence is short, the comma is not required.
Go away and leave me alone!
BUT! Do not use commas to join two independent clauses; semicolons and periods are preferred.
Stevenson's romances are entertaining; they are full of exciting adventures.
Stevenson's romances are entertaining. They are full of exciting adventures.
Punctuate the following. Optional punctuation is indicated by parentheses.
A. The French and American flags are red, white, and blue.
B. No, I didn't have time to write the paper.
C. You may take the book that is on my desk.
D. You may take the book, which is on my desk.
E. I don't like the subject; it's boring for me.
F. I don't like the subject(,) and I hate doing the homework.
G. The paper is written by Smith, Rogers(,) and Jones.
H. They refer to the publication by Lu, Chu(,) and Wu.
I. I shall be at the meeting from April 10, 1998 to 21 April 1998.
J. The year of publication, 1997, was not mentioned.
K. Wherever you may be in the future, our wishes go with you, and we are certain of your continued success in your field.
If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
And the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
And your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash,
Then your situation's hopeless and your system's gonna crash!
Back to the index page.
Created April 30, 1998, by Nancy Burnham and Fred Hutson.