General Writing and Grammar Help/Question.

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QUESTION: Hi Martha!

How are you? I hope that you are fine.

I want to ask a question that are these sentences punctuated correctly with commas:-

1) "First of all, when I came back home previously, you asked me for dinner. In reality, I was not in the mood for dinner."

2) "But the problem is not solved here, in fact, the problem is worsened."

3) "I am a researcher, and during my research, I found something very contrary to what these scholars believe."

Thanks in advance.

ANSWER: I am fine.  Thank you for asking.

~~

1) This is punctuated correctly, but the sentence is a little clumsy, so I hope you will not be offended if I address my concerns.  

=In reality= would be better put as =actually= in American English.

Also, does =asked me for dinner= mean: (1) you asked me to cook dinner for you; (2) you asked me to go out to dinner at a restaurant with you (and you would pay for it)?  It sounds as if you mean the latter. If the latter, you can clarify by adding =out=.

Finally, you can leave out =of all=.

Better:

First, when I came back home, you asked me [out] for dinner. Actually, I was not in the mood for dinner.

~~

2) The problem here with commas is that you have begun the sentence with =but=.  =But= indicates there was something that happen earlier in the sentence (such as thinking the problem was solved).  Therefore, remove =but=.  I also would carve the sentence into two.  That emphasizes further that a problem was NOT solved.  You can make two separate sentences or join them with a semi-colon.  (You may NOT join them by a comma!!!!)

The problem is not solved here; in fact, the problem is worsened.
The problem is not solved here.  In fact, the problem is worsened.

When you fix the structure, there is no comma problem!

~~

3) Here you need to add a comma. =During my research= is a prepositional phrase telling when and must be set off by commas since it comes between the two halves of the sentence.

The "skeleton" of your sentence is:

I am, and I found.

You correctly have placed a comma before =and=.

Here is the sentence as it should be punctuated:

I am a researcher, and, during my research, I found something very contrary to what these scholars believe.

A second option would be to make two sentences out of this single sentence.  If the prepositional phrase is at the end of the second sentence, no comma would be needed.  If it were at the beginning of the second sentence, a comma would be needed.

Note that the latter instance is the same situation as I corrected, that is:

I am..., and during my research, I found....

~~

Two other options:
-1- I am....  During my research, I found....

-2- I am....  I found...during my research.  <<<<

Now, -2- is not as good as -1- because you are saying you found something during the time the scholars were believing the opposite.  (This is the case, of course, but it's clumsy.)  

~~

Your best bet is to add a comma before =and= OR to use -1- alternate construction:
I am....  During my research, I found....


mb


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your brief answer. It was comprehensive.

I would like to know that some people set sentences off commas as mentioned in the question.


"But the problem is not solved here, in fact, the problem is worsened."

But people set off sentences off by commas, can you explain it? For example:-

"They are, however, good people."

"She is, indeed, a good person."

or

"He is, in fact, a charmful guy."

I think that sentence is too short that is the reason.

What do you say? Don't forget to correct me if I made any mistake in my question :)

Thanks.

Answer
Your new sentence examples are correctly punctuated.  Well done.

~~

I think your question for me is that because the sentences are short, words such as =in fact= and =however= are set off by commas.  Yes?  Let me know, and we'll proceed from that point.

~~ ~~

Other:

You wrote:
I would like to know that some people set sentences off commas as mentioned in the question.
There are several problems here.

~~

Do you mean you would like to know WHY some people do this?  If so, you need to add =why= and take away =that=:
I would like to know why some people

~~

You also need =with=:
some people set sentences off with commas

~~

You need to add a comma in:
set sentences off commas as mentioned in the question

You need a comma before =as mentioned in the question=.  This is the same construction you questioned originally!  How ironic!

~~

Lastly, you have split a verb.  The skeleton of the last part of the sentence is:
people set off

You have put =sentences= between the two parts of the verb.

Correct and amended:
I would like to know why some people set off sentences with commas, as mentioned in the question.

~~

You wrote:
I think that sentence is too short that is the reason.

Here you have two sentences, but they have not been joined in any way.  Here are options that are equally correct:

-1- I think that sentence is too short, and that is the reason. [=And= plus a comma.]

-2- I think that sentence is too short; and that is the reason. [=And= plus a semi-colon.]

-3- I think that sentence is too short; that is the reason. [This one has a semi-colon but no =and=.]

-4- I think that sentence is too short.  That is the reason. [This one has been divided into two.]

mb


PS.

ALSO WRONG (You did not do this, but I thought I'd throw it in since we are talking about how to join two sentences...!).  Instead of what you wrote (=I think that sentence is too short that is the reason= [no punctuation]), suppose you wrote:

I think that sentence is too short, that is the reason.  [Note comma, standing there, lonely!]

Sentences cannot be joined only by a comma.  You must: (1) use a semi-colon; (2) use a conjunction (such as =but= or =and=) plus a comma; or (3) split the long sentence into two shorter ones.

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Martha Beth Lewis

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I will answer questions having to do with grammar, plurals, punctuation, capitalization, mood, person, tense, and so on, as well as word usage and word choice. If you want a quick answer to a specific question, particularly if you wish to use formal American English for business or academic purposes (MLA), I can give you a timely response. I also can address word choice, clarity, structure, and similar concerns involving English as a second language. If you want advice of a deeper editorial nature (e.g., substantive [line] editing), please consult an Expert who offers this sort of assistance; I do not offer this sort of assistance.

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I was employed as an editor for the graduate school at a major U.S. university and specialized in dissertations. I have over 200 publications in professional journals, consumer magazines, and newspapers. I am the author of five books and numerous syllabi in an arts field. I also am a freelance line editor, copy editor, and proofreader (over 40 years), and I have written or edited countless community organizations' newsletters and promotional materials.

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Note: When using a word as a word in a sentence, such as: Put a period after the word dog, =dog= should be set in italics. Since I do not have access to italics here, I shall use = on either side of the word or phrase that properly should appear in italics. For the above example: Put a period after the word =dog=. Also, ~~please do not mark your questions as private~~. I will change them to public because I don't want to type the same answer twice! Thanks for your understanding.

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