Review: The Comma

Using a separate sheet of paper, rewrite each sentence to correct the comma usage, then compare your answer with the one provided.

Question 1

The town of Wolfville boasts spectacular tidal flats an annual apple-blossom festival, and the beautiful campus, of Acadia University.

Answer

The town of Wolfville boasts spectacular tidal flats, an annual apple-blossom festival, and the beautiful campus of Acadia University.
Explanation:
You need a comma after "flats" to end this element in the series. The comma after "festival" is optional. You should not use a comma after "campus" because the phrase that follows is restrictive.

Question 2

The university gave, the two top scholars Janet and him, gold medals and framed certificates of merit.

Answer

The university gave the two top scholars, Janet and him, gold medals and framed certificates of merit.
Explanation:
The comma after "gave" in the original sentence incorrectly separates the verb from its object. You need a pair of commas around "Janet and him," because the element is non-restrictive.

Question 3

Everyone, with tickets to the seven o'clock showing of the Rolling Stones movie, should move to the front of the line.

Answer

Everyone with tickets to the seven o'clock showing of the Rolling Stones movie should move to the front of the line.
Explanation:
There should be no comma after "everyone" because what follows is restrictive information. Do not keep the comma between "movie" and "should"; doing so incorrectly separates the subject from the verb.

Question 4

Stacey who was usually quite decisive faced a true dilemma in her last year of university.

Answer

Stacey, who was usually quite decisive, faced a true dilemma in her last year of university.
Explanation:
You should use commas around the non-restrictive clause "who was usually quite decisive."

Question 5

The ring, on his finger, is solid gold.

Answer

The ring on his finger is solid gold.
Explanation:
The phrase "on his finger" is restrictive, so you should not set it off with commas.

Written by Frances Peck