Exercise 3a: Basic Commas and Semicolons

In the following five-part exercise select True or False to indicate whether the sentence uses the appropriate comma or semicolon.

Question 1

Carla often participated in school plays, but she always ended up playing minor roles.

Correct.

A comma is correct because you use a comma plus a linking word ("but") to connect two complete sentences.

"Carla often participated in school plays, but she always ended up playing minor roles."

Incorrect.

A comma is correct because you use a comma plus a linking word ("but") to connect two complete sentences.

"Carla often participated in school plays, but she always ended up playing minor roles."

Question 2

Each boy alone was generally well-behaved, the two of them together were trouble.

Incorrect.

A semicolon is correct because since you use a semicolon on its own to link two complete sentences when there is no linking word.

"Each boy alone was generally well-behaved; the two of them together were trouble."

Correct.

A semicolon is correct because since you use a semicolon on its own to link two complete sentences when there is no linking word.

"Each boy alone was generally well-behaved; the two of them together were trouble."

Question 3

"Tony and Tina's Wedding" is a play that has been playing for many years. It's an unusual play; though, because members of the audience actually become the wedding guests.

Incorrect.

Commas are correct. Use commas to set off an interrupting word or phrase in a sentence.

"Tony and Tina's Wedding" is a play that has been playing for many years. It's an unusual play, though, because members of the audience actually become the wedding guests.

Correct.

Commas are correct. Use commas to set off an interrupting word or phrase in a sentence.

"Tony and Tina's Wedding" is a play that has been playing for many years. It's an unusual play, though, because members of the audience actually become the wedding guests.

Question 4

What did we like best about our vacation? We liked hiking in the Adirondacks, and we liked climbing to the top of the Statue of Liberty; I guess you could say that we had ourselves a high time.

Correct.

A comma belongs in the first space, since it works with the linking word ("and") to link two complete sentences. A semicolon is correct in the second space because it works on its own, without a linking word, to link two complete sentences.

"What did we like best about our vacation? We liked hiking in the Adirondacks, and we liked climbing to the top of the Statue of Liberty; I guess you could say that we had ourselves a high time."

Incorrect.

A comma belongs in the first space, since it works with the linking word ("and") to link two complete sentences. A semicolon is correct in the second space because it works on its own, without a linking word, to link two complete sentences.

"What did we like best about our vacation? We liked hiking in the Adirondacks, and we liked climbing to the top of the Statue of Liberty; I guess you could say that we had ourselves a high time."

Question 5

I anticipate certain things when I hear the words "no problem" in a movie. They indicate that the leading character will encounter problems, obstacles, and pitfalls galore.

Correct.

Commas are correct in each space. Commas link items in a series.

"I anticipate certain things when I hear the words 'no problem' in a movie. They indicate that the leading character will encounter problems, obstacles, and pitfalls galore."

Incorrect.

Commas are correct in each space. Commas link items in a series.

"I anticipate certain things when I hear the words 'no problem' in a movie. They indicate that the leading character will encounter problems, obstacles and pitfalls galore."

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