Punctuation Puzzle: They did not object and thus the area was named the Bermuda Triangle.

PUNCTUATION PUZZLE: How would you punctuate this sentence? (See comments for my suggestions.)

They did not object and thus the area was named the Bermuda Triangle.

The first thing that stands out to me is the CS (complete sentence) on the left of the coordinating conjunction (cc) and the complete sentence on the right of the coordinating conjunction. 

So place a comma before the coordinating conjunction to create a compound sentence: They did not object, and thus the area was named the Bermuda Triangle.

Secondly, there is a word that is called by many different names in grammar terms: thus. We call it a conjunctive adverb (an adverb that joins). 

Conjunctive adverbs within sentences are always surrounded by punctuation marks. In this case, the conjunctive adverb is dropped into the sentence (and can be plucked out and the sentence will still remain a sentence), so there should be a comma on each side of it. You can also HEAR this comma: They did not object, and, thus, the area was named the Bermuda Triangle. 

I would punctuate it like this–They did not object, and, thus, the area was named the Bermuda Triangle. 

However, when my older children were little, I read aloud to them three to five hours a day. Commas show voice inflection and fall, so they are especially near and dear to my heart when reading orally to my kids through the years. Are you comma crazy? 

COMMA CLUE #4: Comma Following a Subordinate Clause Opener Part II of III

Did you memorize subordinators, so you can write with subordinate clause openers properly? If not, you can find the post on there here.

Once you memorize subordinators, you are ready to write with subordinate clauses. Specific to this lesson, you will be ready to write subordinate clause openers (subordinate clauses that are added to the beginnings of sentences).

As far as a subordinate clause is concerned, it contains a subordinator and a subject and a verb.

Subordinator + Subject + Verb

When she drove,

As he said,

After she left,

When they arrived,

Because he smiled,

Did you notice anything about those subordinate clauses? If you noticed that each one would be a sentence if the subordinator were removed, you are correct!

A subordinate clause is a sentence (subject + verb) that has a subordinator at the beginning of it!

Sentence: She drove.
Subordinate clause:  When she drove,

Sentence: He said.
Subordinate clause: As he said,

Sentence: She left.
Subordinate clause: After she left,

Sentence: They arrived.
Subordinate clause: When they arrived,

Sentence: He smiled.
Subordinate clause: Because he smiled,

So….a subordinate clause is a sentence (independent clause-can stand
alone) that has a subordinator added to the beginning of it (which makes it a dependent clause-is dependent upon something else in order to be used {has to have a real sentence put with it in order to be used}).

Think of subordinate clauses by either of their two names:

1. Subordinate clause–subordinate to the rest of the sentence
2. Dependent clause–dependent on something else to go with it (a real sentence/independent clause) in order to be used

So….that is enough of subordinate clauses for today. In the next and final installment of this Comma Clue #4, we will attack the subordinate clause used as a sentence opener–the subordinate clause opener.

PUNCTUATION PUZZLE: Commas and Periods With Quotation Marks

Okay…here is another Punctuation Puzzle for you to solve! Try to figure out where punctuation marks should go–before you look below at the answers/explanations! Smile…

I read the magazine article titled “Baby Games” and I read an encyclopedia essay called “Baby Showers”

Okay….are you ready?

Proper punctuation of that sentence is as follows:

I read the magazine article titled “Baby Games,” and I read an encyclopedia essay called “Baby Showers.”



Here is why the punctuation is the way it is:

1. “Baby Games” is the title of a magazine article; an article is a minor work (a work within a work–in this case, an article within a magazine). Minor works are shown by surrounding the title in quotation marks.

                           I read the magazine article titled “Baby Games,”



2. You need a comma before the AND because this sentence is a compound sentence (Complete Sentence {CS}, and Complete Sentence {CS}). One way you can combine two sentences into one to create a compound sentence is to use a comma-coordinating conjunction (,cc–,for/,and/,nor/,but/,or/,yet/,so). Always test to see if you are really creating a compound by reading each “half” of the sentence by itself–and ask yourself if it could stand alone.

                          I read the article titled “Baby Games,” and I read an encyclopedia essay called “Baby Showers.”

3.  In the US, a comma ALWAYS goes inside a closing quotation mark (whether it is part of the quoted material or not). (This is not the case in British writings.)

                         “Baby Games,”



4. “Baby Showers” is the title of an encyclopedia essay; an essay is a minor work (a work within a work–in this case, an essay within an encyclopedia). Minor works are shown by surrounding the title in quotation marks.

                    “Baby Showers.”




5.  In the US, a period ALWAYS goes inside a closing quotation mark (whether it is part of the quoted material or not). (This is not the case in British writings.)

                      “Baby Showers.”

*Picture from http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/x/jigsaw-puzzle-punctuation-marks-28310853.jpg

COMMA CLUES #3: Greeting and Closing of Letter

Today’s Comma Clues post was actually supposed to be up yesterday–in case you were writing a love letter in honor of Valentine’s Day!! If you are still in the middle of penning a love note for that special someone, be sure to follow these two comma rules–with a freebie capitalization rule thrown in as a, well, Valentine’s Day gift!

This information could be more valuable to you than you might think: I just read that a new survey shows that following “teeth,” grammar is the next benchmark that would-be daters use in evaluating potential mates on dating sites. So study this thoroughly before you write that letter! Smile…

Comma Clues #3: A comma should follow the greeting (salutation) and closing of a letter.

Dear Ray Baby, 

All my love,

I have to leave you with a few tips:

1. This rule applies to the “friendly” letter–which I assume your love letter will be.

2. Never use a colon following a greeting in a friendly letter. The colon should only follow a greeting in a business letter.

3. Always capitalize all major words in a greeting of a letter. In this way, think of it as a title and capitalize accordingly. 

a. Dear Friend and Colleague (no cap for and)
b. Dear First True Love

4. Only capitalize the first word in the closing of a letter (except for proper nouns in it, of course).

a. Sincerely yours,
b. All my love,

So…go write that love letter with confidence. And be sure to flash those pearly whites when you actually meet!

Punctuation Puzzle: Compound With Semicolon (GWC)

Are you ready for another Punctuation Puzzle?

George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life because of this he became successful in everything he did.


1. There are two complete sentences (CS) here:
            a. George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life.
            b. Because of this he became successful in everything he did.

2. Because there are two complete sentences (CS) there, I would place a semicolon between the two (though you could put a period and capitalize the second half and have two separate sentences, if desired).

         George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life; because of this he became successful in everything he did.


3. When you have a compound sentence, you have to treat each sentence separately in terms of its punctuation. Thus, you need to examine the first half of the sentence (the first “real” sentence of the compound sentence) to see if it needs any other punctuation. Then you must do the same with the second half.
              a. George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life. (NO punctuation needed within first half)
              b. Because of this,  he became successful in everything he did.(I WOULD place a comma following the short prepositional phrase [PP] opener “Because of this” simply because I hear a pause following it. {The rules for commas following short PP openers are subjective and usually based on voice inflection or clarity achieved by the use of a comma. We teach liberal comma use following sentence openers in our programs.})


4. Thus, my final verdict on punctuating this compound and slightly complex sentence is as follows:

 George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life; because of this, he became successful in everything he did.


Punctuation really is a puzzle, isn’t it? Smile…


Little addendum to yesterday’s PUNCTUATION PUZZLE:

George Washington Carver had a driving force for knowledge that would reside within him for the rest of his life; because of this, he became successful in everything he did.

1. One of the only uses for semicolons is to create a compound sentence (without having to use a coordinating conjunction For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So–FANBOYS–since these words may give additional meaning).

2. Benchmark for creating compound—are the two halves of the sentence extremely linked? In the case above, they are so intertwined that they actually form a cause and effect of sorts. Closely linked sentences are good candidates for creating compound sentences.

Have a prolific day, Language Lady friends!

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