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  • Commas are tricky things,

  • especially when subordinates and conjunctions are involved.

  • If you can remember a few basic rules,

  • a simple law of physics,

  • and some common scenarios,

  • you will be able to use commas correctly.

  • I like to think of the different parts of our sentence as characters.

  • Let's meet a few of them:

  • the tiny conjunctions,

  • the mighty subordinates,

  • and the clever comma.

  • Conjunctions are small and nimble.

  • They are words that connect clauses, words, and phrases.

  • You can easily remember the conjunctions

  • by remembering the acronym FANBOYS.

  • The conjunctions are

  • for,

  • and,

  • nor,

  • but,

  • or,

  • yet,

  • so.

  • Because they're so small,

  • more often than not,

  • they require the help of a comma

  • but not always.

  • Subordinates, on the other hand,

  • are the WWE heavyweight champions of sentences.

  • They are words that connect two unequal things,

  • dependent and independent clauses.

  • Subordinates make it very clear

  • what is being prioritized in a sentence.

  • Commonly used subordinates are

  • although,

  • because,

  • before,

  • however,

  • unless,

  • and even though.

  • Because subordinates are all about power,

  • they can do a lot of heavy lifting by themselves.

  • But, of course, sometimes even the strongest among us

  • needs some help from our clever friends.

  • Because our clever comma is so nice, she often roams her neighborhood looking for some community service to do.

  • Today, as soon as she leaves her house,

  • she sees a subordinate lifting the weight

  • of two complete sentences,

  • one on each arm.

  • Bartheleme loves engaging in political debate

  • even though

  • he usually loses.

  • The comma asks the subordinate if he needs help.

  • Well, we know that subordinates

  • are the WWE heavyweight champions of sentences.

  • They can easily hold the weight

  • of these two complete sentences

  • because they are distributed evenly on both arms.

  • So, when the comma asks if it can help,

  • the subordinate is appalled

  • at the idea of needing assistance.

  • No thanks, maybe next time!

  • So, the comma continues on.

  • Soon, she sees a couple of subordinates

  • attempting to lift the weight

  • of sentences directly in front of themselves.

  • Even though Bartheleme loves to sing,

  • he never sings in front of others.

  • The comma asks the subordinates if they need help.

  • They might not want to admit it,

  • but this time the subordinates do need help.

  • Complete sentences weigh quite a bit.

  • Simple physics tells us

  • that it's easier to balance heavy objects

  • if the weight is evenly distributed.

  • So, while the subordinates are quite capable

  • of balancing two complete sentences

  • when carrying the weight on both sides,

  • they're having trouble picking just one up.

  • The comma rushes over

  • to help the struggling subordinates,

  • but how will she help?

  • When subordinates begin sentences,

  • the comma will place herself

  • directly after the first thought or complete sentence.

  • After helping the subordinates,

  • our comma heroine continues on

  • and spots a conjunction

  • holding the weight of two complete sentences.

  • Bartheleme was accepted into the University of Chicago,

  • and

  • he is on the waitlist for Stanford University.

  • The comma asks the conjunction if he needs help.

  • Of course he does! Hurry!

  • The comma rushes and places itself before the conjunction.

  • Fanboys aren't as militant as subordinates.

  • For this reason,

  • the commas don't have to fall in line behind the fanboys.

  • Fanboys are courteous creatures.

  • They allow the comma to go ahead of them.

  • Helping others is hard work!

  • On her way home,

  • our comma sees a conjunction holding up the weight

  • of a complete sentence

  • and a fragment sentence.

  • Bartheleme is going to major in molecular biology

  • or

  • interpretive dance.

  • The now-exhausted comma asks the conjunction

  • if he needs help lifting the items.

  • This is one of the rare occasions

  • where a conjunction doesn't need the help of a comma.

  • The conjunction assures the comma

  • that help isn't needed,

  • which is good for the comma

  • because by now,

  • all it wants to do is go home and rest up

  • for another day of vigilant sentence constructing.

Commas are tricky things,

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B2 US TED-Ed comma conjunction weight complete asks

【TED-Ed】Comma story - Terisa Folaron

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    wikiHuang posted on 2015/05/13
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