Comma usage and compound predicates, oh my!

Today we discuss comma usage and compound predicates.  Every complete sentence contains two main parts:  a subject and a predicate.  The subject is what—or whom—the sentence is about (“Lord Vader …”), while the predicate tells something about the subject (“… dislikes incompetence.”).  As you can see, the predicate is the part of the sentence that contains the verb.  (Other sentence elements include direct and indirect objects, adverbs, and adjectives.)

Compound predicates are predicates that contain a series of verbs that modify the same subject.  They should be treated like any other series:  If there are three or more verbs, use commas; if there are only two, don’t, e.g.:

  • Lord Vader objected to the admiral’s remark, told him that his lack of faith was disturbing, and used the Force to great effect.
  • Pedro struck out each of the batters in order and went to the dugout for a breather.

That is all for now …

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Filed under Grammar, Punctuation

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