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Using the Comma Correctly Practice Exercises (page 2)

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Updated on Sep 30, 2011

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Practice 1: Using Correct Punctuation in a Letter

  111 W. 1111th Street
  New York, New York 11111
  January 1, 2008

Dear Lynne,

Can you remember what it was like trying to teach students how to use the comma? I am having a very funny and somewhat frustrating experience teaching commas my students, because they find the subject incredibly boring. Do you blame them?

Their solution, alas, to the problem of when to insert a comma is to sprinkle commas throughout their essays as if they were chocolate sprinkles on an ice cream cone. While I like the idea of ice cream, I have to point out to them that there are rules that must be followed or the reader will end up very confused. One of my students actually told me that she decided to put them in at a rate of two commas for every other sentence. She figured this would make her writing look more "professional."

Do you have any suggestions for how I can make commas more fun? Any advice you can offer will be much appreciated.

  Sincerely,
  Joy

Practice 2: Using Commas Correctly

1. A long river, the Mississippi can be said to divide the United States into two parts, west and east.
2. When you are traveling west from Philadelphia, you arrive in Chicago long before you arrive in Salt Lake City.
3. "Seeing the country by car," said my tour guide, "is really the best way to learn what being an American is all about."
4. Getting to a scheduled airline flight these days can be very difficult due to the requirement that you take off your shoes and jacket, throw away your water bottle, and show your ticket before you enter the gate area.
5. On the other hand, there is no mode of travel that is faster, easier, simpler, and more modern than air flight.
6. Trekking, however, is actually my favorite way to see the countryside.
7. My family favors camping vacations, which include sleeping, eating, and even showering out in nature.
8. The hazards of camping can include mosquitoes, ants, and sometimes bears.
9. After being awakened by our first bear, we drove to town the very next day and bought a big tent.
10. My mother has always told me that the best education is earned in the following ways: traveling to new places, reading good books, and conscientiously practicing all the hard grammar rules.
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