ACT English 1.12 Passage Drill
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ACT English: Passage Drill 1, Problem 12. Correct comma use.
|ACT English||Passage Drill|
|Product Type||ACT English|
|Punctuation Marks||Comma Placement|
Here are the potential answers...
To answer this question correctly, we need to wrestle with the eternal problem of how
to correctly use commas.
Let’s start by taking a look at (D), which places a comma after “exocarp.”
This is incorrect because there’s no grammatical reason to place a comma here.
Doing so unnecessarily separates “and the mesocarp” from the rest of the sentence.
Guess we’d better move on before it gets separation anxiety.
Maybe choice (C) will make a better show of itself.
Nah, not really. Like (D), choice (C) places a comma after “exocarp.”
Taking out the word “and” does nothing to make this choice grammatically correct.
If anything, it makes the sentence even more confusing by tricking us
into thinking we’ve got a list on our hands.
Commas are only needed when more than two things are being listed.
For example, if we were talking about the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp.
Then we would need commas to separate them.
This, of course, is not the case, so we can move on to the next option.
OK, time to compare choices (A) and (B), which are having a serious disagreement.
Choice (A) separates “the exocarp and the mesocarp” from the rest of the sentence
with commas, while choice (B) uses no commas at all.
The rule of thumb is that commas separate things that are nonessential to the sentence,
while things that are essential should be comma-free.
An easy way to tell if a part of a sentence is essential
is to omit the part in question as you read the sentence out loud.
Check it out: “when you buy a coconut at the super market are removed and what you see is the endocarp.”
Wow, that was gibberish.
Removing “the exocarp and the mesocarp” definitely takes something essential from the sentence.
Therefore, comma-free choice (B) is the correct answer.
A lesson learned the hard way: it’s best not to read sentences out loud while in public.