Forum: General Forum
Start a New Topic 
  
Author
Comment
Transitional phrase punctuation

Hello.

Is anyone able to explain the punctuation in the following sentence?

"It rained all day, and, as a result, the hut collapsed."

It is taken from one of the test exercises of the parenthesis article. However, I find it contradicting the rule mentioned in the article about transitional phrases.

Doesn't the comma before "as a result" make it a typical example of a run-on sentence? I suspect the presence of "and" is what makes it different, but I want to be sure I got it right.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Re: Transitional phrase punctuation

The main sentence is:

"It rained all day, and the hut collapsed."

"as a result" is an interpolation, and is so indicated, with commas:

"It rained all day, and, as a result, the hut collapsed."

Re: Transitional phrase punctuation

"It rained all day, and, as a result, the hut collapsed."

No, it's not a run-on: the sentence comprises a coordination of two main clauses, marked as such by the coordinator "and". But it does exhibit unnecessarily heavy punctuation: there too many commas interrupting the flow, making it make it jerky to read. It would be much better, and perfectly normal, to have lighter punctuation by omitting the comma after "and". Consider these alternants:

(1) "It rained all day and the hut collapsed."

(2) "It rained all day and, as a result, the hut collapsed".

In (1) there is no adjunct and the sentence is perfectly fine without any commas at all. With that in mind, it is clear that if we insert the adjunct "as a result", all that is needed is commas to mark the boundaries of the adjunct itself, as in (2).

The lighter punctuation makes the sentence much smoother to read, and causes no confusion as to the intended meaning.


PaulM