English grammar

Module 12, Punctuation: End Marks and Commas, Lesson 10:

Using Commas to Avoid the Absurd

English grammar

Especially when using prepositional phrases and complex sentences, leaving out a comma can lead to confusion, or even an absurd statement. Read these sentences without commas.

Even before spring leaves start to appear on the trees.
When does spring leave?

If you wash Jesse will dry.
Why are you washing Jesse?

While we were eating Audrey announced her big news.
We were eating Audrey?

Before you vacuum your sister needs to dust.
Sisters don't need vacuuming (usually!).

Now read the same sentences with commas. They make much more sense!

Even before spring, leaves start to appear on the trees.
If you wash, Jesse will dry.
While we were eating, Audrey announced her big news.
Before you vacuum, your sister needs to dust.

Practice What You've Learned

English grammar
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In the following sentence, we do not really want to eat our grandfather. That would be absurd. Rather, we would like him to join us for lunch. Insert a comma by clicking the space after the appropriate word to give the sentence our intended meaning.
Let's, eat, grandpa!