Punctuating Relational Words

 

1If we choose to keep the ideas in their original order, can we move the word "but" to any other position than the one it now occupies--after "face," for instance?

Miss Smith was graceful and charming, but her face was ugly.

(You're supposed to do this in your head, but you might say it out loud. Answer with "Yes" or "No," please, and use no period after the word. Capitalize or not as you please.)

2If we keep the ideas in the same order but use "however" instead of "but," is there any other place where "however" might be inserted than where "but" stands now?

Miss Smith was graceful and charming, but her face was ugly.

(Answer with "Yes" or No.")

3Could "however" be inserted after "face"?

4Could "however" be inserted after "ugly"?

5In fiew of the fact that "however" is not firmly anchored in one spot, rewrite the sentence below using "however" in place of "but." Punctuate appropriately.

Miss Smith was graceful and charming, but her face was ugly.

6If we removed "but" and used "although" to oppose the two ideas, is there more than one place where we could put "although" without changing meaning except for emphasis?

Miss Smith was graceful and charming, but her face was ugly.

7Redesign this sentence by using "although" in the first clause. Do not use "but."

Miss Smith was graceful and charming, but her face was ugly.

8If "and" did not join the following two clauses, we might relate the ideas with "also." Could "also" be located in the same place where "and" is placed now? (We are not concerned yet with punctuation, just with word order.)

A-students typically miss fewer than one class out of 45, and they do their homework with care.

9Could "and" be placed in other spots?

10Could "also" be placed in other spots?

11Using "also" to relate the clauses, could the one that is now second be placed first, with "also" at its head? It would look thus, ignoring capitalization and punctuation:

also they do their homework with care A-students typically miss fewer than one class out of 45

12You have had enough guidance to apply the principles in the reading at the right to the question of punctuating this sentence. Rewrite it using "also" instead of "and," but punctuate appropriately.

A-students typically miss fewer than one class out of 45, and they do their homework with care.

13Keeping the ideas in their present order and not worrying about punctuation yet, is there any other place where "but" might be placed in order to oppose the two thoughts?

The ham sandwiches look nice, but I think I'd better have just a salad.

14How about dropping "but" and using "nevertheless" or "even so"? Could they be inserted anywhere other than where "but" is now?

15In the reading to the right, find among the example sentences one sentence containing a relational word that does not have one single spot where it has to be in a sentence. Copy a sentence containing this word, and paste it into the window below.

16Now rewrite the sentence below, dropping "but" and using "nevertheless" instead. Make the punctuation appropriate for a word that has no fixed position.

The ham sandwiches look nice, but I think I'd better have just a salad.

17Find in the reading at the right a reason why "I think I'd better have just a salad, nevertheless" was not offered as a reasonable alternative. Copy the sentence explaining why, and paste it into the window below.

18If we removed "so" and temporarily ignored punctuation, would "as a result" make sense if it were inserted before the spot "so" now occupies in the sentence below?

Parents used to read aloud to their children, so kids used to want to learn to read.

19Could it be used after that spot?

20Could it be used at that spot?

21Could "since" be used before the spot "so" now occupies (again dropping "so" and ignoring punctuation)?

Parents used to read aloud to their children, so kids used to want to learn to read.

22Without changing the order of the ideas, could "since" be used where "so" now is?

23Could we rearrange the ideas so that "since" would lie between them without changing the meaning?

24In the reading to the right, find an example of a word that works like "since": able to be at the beginning or in the middle but unable to move without being accompanied by the words that follow it. Copy one sentence containing a word that moves about like that, and paste it into the window below.

25Now rewrite the sentence using "since."

Parents used to read aloud to their children, so kids used to want to learn to read.

26Sentence elements that move around in a sentence without changing meaning significantly usually modify the verb or are part of the predicate at least, modifying the sentence as a whole.

The spy committed suicide to avoid breaking under torture.

Therefore such units are typically set off from other sentence elements by a comma or a pair of commas whenever they move away from the verb--to before the subject, for instance.

==> To avoid breaking under torture, the spy committed suicide.

This comma lets us know that this introductory part of the predicate is over and we have come to the subject.

On the other hand, we do not use a comma to separate a word from what it sticks next to and cannot leave.

In the following sentence, remembering what you said about the behavior of "as a result" earlier, delete "so" and add "as a result" wherever it will make sense, punctuating appropriately for an expression that behaves in the fashion "as a result" behaves:

Benson had seen no one in the canyon for weeks, so he was shocked to see footprints in the snow.

27Now suppose that you wish to rewrite the same sentence using "because." Place it where it will make sense, and copy just the "because" clause into the window below. Use no punctuation.

Benson had seen no one in the canyon for weeks, so he was shocked to see footprints in the snow.

28Could "because" be placed meaningfully anywhere in the sentence besides where you put it?

29Could the clause beginning with "because" be placed equally well before or after the other clause?

30Find among the example sentences in the lesson on the right the pair of sentences that illustrate this ability of two clauses to switch positions without changing meaning. Paste one or the other of these sentences into the window below.

31Using these sentences as a model, rewrite the sentence below using "because." Add a comma to make reading easier.

Benson had seen no one in the canyon for weeks, so he was shocked to see footprints in the snow.