Punctuating a Clarification


Which of these sentences is accurately written and puncuated?


(A)  They help me express my deepest emotions whether happy or sad.  (Should a comma be placed between emotions and whether?)


(B)  They help me express my deepest emotions, both happy and sad.


(C)  They help me express my deepest emotions--happy or sad.

whether comma asked Jul 07 '12 at 03:04 lesley sturm New member

2 answers


All the sentences are awkward and incorrect.  

link answered Jul 07 '12 at 03:18 sanjay Expert

Sanjay, we all learn through teaching. For both the benefit of both Lesley and yourself, why do you say these are incorrect? Please eplain.

Jeff PribylJul 07 '12 at 12:45

All along, I have been learning English through sentence templates and regular reading novels and English newspapers. Although I have several books on Grammar, I do not look into it. I have come to the conclusion that the only way to master English Grammar is to copy the sentences that you people use it in the write up.

sanjayJul 07 '12 at 15:56

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All three sentences end with a dependent clause -- "whether happy or sad", "both happy and sad", and "happy or sad".  When the concluding dependent clause is restrictive -- that is, essential to the meaning of the main clause -- no comma is used. However, when the dependent clause is nonrestrictive -- that is, supplementary or parenthetical -- a comma is required.


In all three of your sentences, the dependent clause is nonrestrictive because it can be removed without changing the meaning of the main clause. Therefore, a comma is required in all three sentences.


An em dash (represented by the paired hyphens in #C here) may substitute for a comma. It represents a more emphatic break or pause in the flow of the sentence.

link answered Jul 07 '12 at 04:37 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

Thank you so much! This was very helpful!

lesley sturmJul 08 '12 at 01:30

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