Thursday, September 29, 2011

Further to one of your comments on punctuation

Emma Graham said...

Hi Alina, A very interesting website and I'm sure very useful for people studying English.
I am English myself and ashamedly my English grammer is probably worse than many foreign students.
I note that when you write a sentence which includes the word 'and' you often proceed this with a comma. I'm sure from my English calsses many years ago that you eaither use a comma, or 'and' and not both. Please let me know so I can use the correct grammer in the future. As you can see my spelling is not too good either.

Hello Emma
Thank you for your comment.  I apologise I haven’t  been able to reply earlier. 

I’m still experimenting with the format of the blog, and I’ve only just noticed your entry. 

Clearly my knowledge of English grammar is  based on what I’ve read and studied.  You are fortunate enough to experience the living language daily.
I could learn quite a lot from you.

What is customary?  Do the English tend to use a comma and a conjunction such as “and”?
In my experience it’s not always necessary, but it is certainly possible.  I tend to be influenced by Bulgarian punctuation when I write, even in English.

A common situation when you could have a comma + and is when separating a series of items.  When you have a complex and lengthy list it’s better to have the comma, although as you say it’s not necessary.
Example: He hit the ball, dropped the bat, and ran to first base.
Also use a comma + a little conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so) to connect two independent clauses, as in "He hit the ball, and then he ran toward third base."

There’s a bit more information in my entry on comma splices.  Have a read if you’re interested.

As far as spelling goes I always advise my students to spell the word, and look it up when they're not sure. There are some great dictionaries, reference books, and grammar/spellcheckers out there. 

Alright, I hope I’ve been of some help.  I’d love to hear/read more about your troubles with English grammar.  Please, keep leaving your comments.

ps I’ll be sure to follow your blog.

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