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with or without a comma?

 
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fw



Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 361

PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 7:04 am    Post subject: with or without a comma? Reply with quote

Hello, everyone.

Which is more natural and grammatically correct, (1) or (2) below? The sentence is a translation from Japanese.

1 Letís visit Nikko this fall when the leaves will be turning colors. (without a comma)
2 Letís visit Nikko this fall, when the leaves will be turning colors. (with a comma)

Any comment would be appreciatd.

Best regards,
fw
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christina_nguyen



Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 120

PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there,

If I write that sentence, I would write without a comma cuz I think it would be smoother to read.

Just a thought!

--Christina
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doliver



Joined: 09 Oct 2005
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 1:51 pm    Post subject: Re: with or without a comma? Reply with quote

fw said,

"Which is more natural and grammatically correct, (1) or (2) below? The sentence is a translation from Japanese.

1 Letís visit Nikko this fall when the leaves will be turning colors. (without a comma)
2 Letís visit Nikko this fall, when the leaves will be turning colors. (with a comma)."

Comments:

Whether or not a comma is used after fall isn't a matter of correctness or smoothness; instead, it's a matter of whether the noun which is modified (fall) has already been specified or whether the clause is needed to specify the noun.

In English, the purpose of a comma before a modifying clause is to show that the modifying clause is not needed to specify the noun which the clause modifies. Because the sentence says this fall (not last fall, not next fall, not the fall of 2009), nothing more is needed to make fall specific. Because of this, the comma is necessary: it shows that fall is already specific and the modifying clause is extra information.

In the first sentence (without the comma after fall), what is communicated is that "when the leaves will be turning colors" is needed to show which this fall is being referred to, but this information is already shown by this. Writing the sentence without a comma after fall is, therefore, not logical.
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Dennis Oliver
Estrella Mountain Community College
Avondale, AZ U.S.A.
http://www.emc.maricopa.edu
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