Archive for the '<punctuation>' Category

Angelina, Brad, and an Error in Punctuation

May 30, 2006

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt donated $300,000 to Namibian hospitals, and $15,000 to a community center in Swakopmund.

This sentence contains an error in punctuation. The verb "donated" has a compound object, the two components of which are "$300,000 to Namibian hospitals" (direct object = "$300,000"; indirect object = "Namibian hospitals") and "$15,000 to a community center in Swakopmund" (direct object = "$15,000"; indirect object = "community center in Swakopmund"). Do not use a comma to separate the two elements of a compound subject or object.

The sentence should be punctuated as follows:

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt donated $300,000 to Namibian hospitals and $15,000 to a community center in Swakopmund.

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Lindsay and an Error in Punctuation

May 24, 2006

Lindsay Lohan will appear in two movies that deal with an assassination; playing a groupie attached to John Lennon in "Chapter 27" and an activist in a fictionalized account of the killing of Robert F. Kennedy.

This sentence contains an error in punctuation: a semicolon is used in place of a comma.

A semicolon should only be used to separate two independent clauses. This sentence contains one independent clause and a participial phrase. A partcipial phrase should be separated from an independent clause by a comma.

Use a semicolon alone when two independent clauses are related to each other ("None of my friends wanted to see that band; I went to the concert alone.") or with a conjunctive adverb (however, moreover, therefore, consequently, otherwise, nevertheless, thus) to form a transition between two independent clauses ("None of my friends wanted to see that band; therefore, I went to the concert alone.")

This is how the sentence should be punctuated:

Lindsay Lohan will appear in two movies that deal with an assassination, playing a groupie attached to John Lennon in "Chapter 27" and an activist in a fictionalized account of the killing of Robert F. Kennedy.