Even grammar instructors hate some grammar rules. I myself hate one grammar rule in particular: the injunction against putting a comma in a sentence with a compound predicate. Do you feel me, man? Ok, well maybe I need to explain what that rule is before you can sympathize.
The word "compound" in grammar means you have two of the item in question. A compound sentence contains two sentences. A compound noun is two nouns. A compound adjective is two adjectives. And a compound predicate is two predicates. A predicate, of course (goes without saying, really, doesn't it?) is the verb's part of the sentence: the verb and its entourage of stuff that can follow a verb: a direct object, an adverb or two, an indirect object, and so forth. (Grammar mavens: the technical term for the stuff belonging to the verb is "complement.") Here are examples showing a compound sentence and a compound predicate:
Her job was to answer every single email message, and she did it very well.
In her job she answered every phone call and replied to every email message.
In the compound sentence the part after the word and is a complete sentence. Notice the comma before the word and. In the compound predicate the part after and is just a predicate.
Do not use a comma in a compound predicate. Do use a comma in a compound sentence joined by and (or another coordinating conjunction).
Put a comma in each of the compound sentences. Leave out the comma in each of the compound predicates. As always, I look forward to seeing your answers.
- The ice cream truck entered the neighborhood and turned on its loudspeaker.
- The loudspeaker sputtered to life and children came running.
- Children were not the only patrons of the ice cream truck but the adults tended to arrive more slowly.
- Icy-cold confections soon moved through the neighborhood and dripped multicolored sweetness on the sidewalks.
- A dog licked the sticky pavement under its owner's feet and a cat looked disdainfully down from its perch on a porch railing.
- The truck trundled to the end of the block and turned out into the traffic of the main street but it left an indelible mark on the memories of the children.
Our answers to last week's challenge are brought to you byRebecca Fleisch Cordeiro. She has correctly noted that all of these clauses and phrases are adverbial--answering questions such as when, where, and why the action in the sentence occurred or occurs.
- Until the barn is full, we will continue to deliver hay. Adverbial clause "until the barn is full"... needs a comma
- Until yesterday, we did not know the groundhog was under the shed. Adverbial phrase "until yesterday," less than 5 words, comma optional; I put it in so reader will pause
- Because the hawk was flying overhead, the small birds hid in the bushes. Adverbial clause "because the hawk was flying overhead," so needs comma
- Because of the hawk's cry, all of the squirrels froze in their tracks. Adverbial phrase "Because...cry" with 5 words, so I left the comma in
- During the cool and damp early morning hours, we stayed on the screened porch. Adverbial phrase "During...hours" with more than 5 words, needs comma
- While the children played in the pool, we sat in the shade. Adverbial clause "while...pool", so needs comma
- After you click the icon once, you must wait for the picture to fully load. Adverbial clause "after...once", so needs comma
- After lunch we will cover photo filtering. Adverbial phrase "After lunch," less than 5 words, comma optional. I left it out.
Correct answers also came from Vicki Hendricks, Sonia Verma, and Jing Ping Fan (JP).
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