General Writing and Grammar Help/comma usage


jordan buckley wrote at 2009-02-07 21:15:00
I have to respectfully disagree with the expert. On the first sentence, Mr. Leone's solution is grammatically correct but changes the meaning, making "of course" modify "Soak it in" instead of modifying "compose something delectable about us!" as was intended. The asker's solution is correct: The sentence is a simple sentence with a compound verb and thus doesn’t need any commas except to set off the interrupting element “of course.” So it should read:

Soak it in and, of course, compose something delectable about us!

The second sentence is a little more complicated. The verb “creates” should not be made to agree with “vitamins,” because it is not the vitamins that create the income stream, but the fact that “clients repeatedly purchase vitamins.” The subject of “creates” is the entire preceding clause, which should be treated as singular.

Now, usually “which” is used to introduce a nonrestrictive clause, while “that” introduces a restrictive clause. Depending on what style manual you follow, however, “which” can be used in either a restrictive or a nonrestrictive way—but the comma placement shows which one you intend. So if you write, “Clients purchase vitamins which, in effect, create income streams” (no comma before which, making it a restrictive clause), you’re saying that clients purchase only those vitamins that create income streams. If, on the other hand, you write, “Clients purchase vitamins, which, in effect, creates income streams” (comma before which, making it a nonrestrictive clause), you’re saying that clients purchase some vitamins, and this fact happens to create income streams. I think this is the intended meaning; therefore, the sentence should read:

Moreover, clients repeatedly purchase vitamins, which, in effect, creates residual income streams for Consultants.

Hope it helps!

jordan buckley

dkw wrote at 2014-12-16 11:38:37
Would have to disagree with both of your responses to the first sentence. The original punctuation was all right, and, for me, the best solution -- "Soak it in, and, of course, compose something delectable about us!" though without the comma after 'and' Works as well. The subject is the same, but it is repeated. It is contained in the imperative verb, which we have two of. So, yes, two verbs and only one subject, but we get it twice.

With the second sentence, I agree with Jordan. 'Which' is clearly being used as defining pronoun, referring back to the entire main clause.  

General Writing and Grammar Help

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jerry Leone


I`ve taught writing or some aspect of the English language for nearly 35 years. I can answer nearly any question on grammar, usage or meanings of words above dictionary usage. An avid crossword fan and writer, I can also answer questions about business presentations and resumes.


I have worked with words all my life as a teacher of the language and as an amateur and professional writer. Communication is a vital force in my life and everyone else's.

Sigma Delta Chi, NY Press Association, NY Publishers Association

BA in English from the University of Buffalo, MEd in English from SUNY Buffalo, MA in English Literature from SUNY Buffalo. Course work in Journalism from Syracuse Univ., in Linguistics from Rutgers Univ. and Journalism from Univ. of Texas and Ohio Univesrity.

Awards and Honors
Chancellor's Award for Excellence Teaching SUNY, Distinguished Teaching Award SUNY Morrisville, Who's Who in American Journalism Education

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]