full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Terisa Folaron: Comma story

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Commas are tricky things, especially when subordinates and conjunctions are involved. If you can remember a few basic rules, a simple law of physics, and some common scenarios, you will be able to use commas correctly. I like to think of the different ptars of our sentence as ctarcearhs. Let's meet a few of them: the tiny conjunctions, the mighty subordinates, and the clever comma. Conjunctions are small and nimble. They are words that ccenont clauses, words, and phrases. You can easily rmeebmer the cnoincnuotjs by remembering the acnroym fanyobs. The conjunctions are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. Because they're so salml, more often than not, they rreqiue the help of a comma but not always. Subordinates, on the other hand, are the WWE heavyweight cnhompias of sentences. They are wrods that connect two unequal things, dependent and independent cleasus. Subordinates make it very clear what is being prioritized in a sentence. Commonly used subordinates are although, because, before, however, unless, and even though. Because sabnriuedots are all about power, they can do a lot of heavy lifting by themselves. But, of course, sometimes even the strongest among us needs some help from our cevler friends. Because our clever comma is so nice, she often romas her neighborhood looking for some community service to do. tdaoy, as soon as she leaves her house, she sees a strbudnaoie lifting the weight of two complete sentences, one on each arm. Bartheleme loves engaging in political debate even though he usually loses. The comma asks the subordinate if he needs help. Well, we know that subordinates are the WWE heavyweight champions of sentences. They can easily hold the weight of these two complete sentences because they are distributed evleny on both arms. So, when the comma asks if it can help, the subordinate is appalled at the idea of needing acsnisaste. No thanks, maybe next time! So, the comma continues on. Soon, she seems a couple of subordinates attempting to lift the weight of sentences directly in front of themselves. Even though Bartheleme loves to sing, he never sings in front of others. The comma asks the subordinates if they need help. They might not want to admit it, but this time the subordinates do need help. Complete sentences wgeih quite a bit. Simple pycihss tells us that it's easier to balance heavy objects if the weight is evenly distributed. So, while the subordinates are quite capable of balancing two complete sentences when carrying the wihegt on both sides, they're having trouble picking just one up. The comma rsehus over to help the struggling subordinates, but how will she help? When subordinates begin sceenents, the comma will place herself directly after the first thought or complete seenncte. After hielpng the subordinates, our comma heroine continues on and spots a conjunction holding the weight of two cmtepole sentences. bremalehte was accepted into the University of Chicago, and he is on the waitlist for sraonftd University. The comma asks the conjunction if he needs help. Of course he does! Hurry! The comma rushes and places itself before the conjunction. Fanboys aren't as militant as subordinates. For this rosean, the commas don't have to fall in line behind the fanboys. Fanboys are courteous creatures. They allow the cmmoa to go ahead of them. Helping others is hard work! On her way home, our comma sees a conjunction hdnliog up the weight of a complete sentence and a fragment sentence. Bartheleme is going to major in molecular biology or interpretive dance. The now-exhausted comma asks the conjunction if he needs help lifting the items. This is one of the rare occassions where a conjunction doesn't need the help of a comma. The conjunction assures the comma that help isn't needed, which is good for the comma because by now, all it wants to do is go home and rest up for another day of vigilant sentence constructing.

Open Cloze

Commas are tricky things, especially when subordinates and conjunctions are involved. If you can remember a few basic rules, a simple law of physics, and some common scenarios, you will be able to use commas correctly. I like to think of the different _____ of our sentence as __________. Let's meet a few of them: the tiny conjunctions, the mighty subordinates, and the clever comma. Conjunctions are small and nimble. They are words that _______ clauses, words, and phrases. You can easily ________ the ____________ by remembering the _______ _______. The conjunctions are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. Because they're so _____, more often than not, they _______ the help of a comma but not always. Subordinates, on the other hand, are the WWE heavyweight _________ of sentences. They are _____ that connect two unequal things, dependent and independent _______. Subordinates make it very clear what is being prioritized in a sentence. Commonly used subordinates are although, because, before, however, unless, and even though. Because ____________ are all about power, they can do a lot of heavy lifting by themselves. But, of course, sometimes even the strongest among us needs some help from our ______ friends. Because our clever comma is so nice, she often _____ her neighborhood looking for some community service to do. _____, as soon as she leaves her house, she sees a ___________ lifting the weight of two complete sentences, one on each arm. Bartheleme loves engaging in political debate even though he usually loses. The comma asks the subordinate if he needs help. Well, we know that subordinates are the WWE heavyweight champions of sentences. They can easily hold the weight of these two complete sentences because they are distributed ______ on both arms. So, when the comma asks if it can help, the subordinate is appalled at the idea of needing __________. No thanks, maybe next time! So, the comma continues on. Soon, she seems a couple of subordinates attempting to lift the weight of sentences directly in front of themselves. Even though Bartheleme loves to sing, he never sings in front of others. The comma asks the subordinates if they need help. They might not want to admit it, but this time the subordinates do need help. Complete sentences _____ quite a bit. Simple _______ tells us that it's easier to balance heavy objects if the weight is evenly distributed. So, while the subordinates are quite capable of balancing two complete sentences when carrying the ______ on both sides, they're having trouble picking just one up. The comma ______ over to help the struggling subordinates, but how will she help? When subordinates begin _________, the comma will place herself directly after the first thought or complete ________. After _______ the subordinates, our comma heroine continues on and spots a conjunction holding the weight of two ________ sentences. __________ was accepted into the University of Chicago, and he is on the waitlist for ________ University. The comma asks the conjunction if he needs help. Of course he does! Hurry! The comma rushes and places itself before the conjunction. Fanboys aren't as militant as subordinates. For this ______, the commas don't have to fall in line behind the fanboys. Fanboys are courteous creatures. They allow the _____ to go ahead of them. Helping others is hard work! On her way home, our comma sees a conjunction _______ up the weight of a complete sentence and a fragment sentence. Bartheleme is going to major in molecular biology or interpretive dance. The now-exhausted comma asks the conjunction if he needs help lifting the items. This is one of the rare occassions where a conjunction doesn't need the help of a comma. The conjunction assures the comma that help isn't needed, which is good for the comma because by now, all it wants to do is go home and rest up for another day of vigilant sentence constructing.

Solution

  1. clauses
  2. stanford
  3. complete
  4. champions
  5. physics
  6. assistance
  7. require
  8. holding
  9. evenly
  10. sentences
  11. fanboys
  12. subordinates
  13. parts
  14. helping
  15. bartheleme
  16. acronym
  17. conjunctions
  18. roams
  19. connect
  20. remember
  21. today
  22. reason
  23. subordinate
  24. rushes
  25. words
  26. clever
  27. small
  28. characters
  29. comma
  30. weight
  31. sentence
  32. weigh

Original Text

Commas are tricky things, especially when subordinates and conjunctions are involved. If you can remember a few basic rules, a simple law of physics, and some common scenarios, you will be able to use commas correctly. I like to think of the different parts of our sentence as characters. Let's meet a few of them: the tiny conjunctions, the mighty subordinates, and the clever comma. Conjunctions are small and nimble. They are words that connect clauses, words, and phrases. You can easily remember the conjunctions by remembering the acronym FANBOYS. The conjunctions are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. Because they're so small, more often than not, they require the help of a comma but not always. Subordinates, on the other hand, are the WWE heavyweight champions of sentences. They are words that connect two unequal things, dependent and independent clauses. Subordinates make it very clear what is being prioritized in a sentence. Commonly used subordinates are although, because, before, however, unless, and even though. Because subordinates are all about power, they can do a lot of heavy lifting by themselves. But, of course, sometimes even the strongest among us needs some help from our clever friends. Because our clever comma is so nice, she often roams her neighborhood looking for some community service to do. Today, as soon as she leaves her house, she sees a subordinate lifting the weight of two complete sentences, one on each arm. Bartheleme loves engaging in political debate even though he usually loses. The comma asks the subordinate if he needs help. Well, we know that subordinates are the WWE heavyweight champions of sentences. They can easily hold the weight of these two complete sentences because they are distributed evenly on both arms. So, when the comma asks if it can help, the subordinate is appalled at the idea of needing assistance. No thanks, maybe next time! So, the comma continues on. Soon, she seems a couple of subordinates attempting to lift the weight of sentences directly in front of themselves. Even though Bartheleme loves to sing, he never sings in front of others. The comma asks the subordinates if they need help. They might not want to admit it, but this time the subordinates do need help. Complete sentences weigh quite a bit. Simple physics tells us that it's easier to balance heavy objects if the weight is evenly distributed. So, while the subordinates are quite capable of balancing two complete sentences when carrying the weight on both sides, they're having trouble picking just one up. The comma rushes over to help the struggling subordinates, but how will she help? When subordinates begin sentences, the comma will place herself directly after the first thought or complete sentence. After helping the subordinates, our comma heroine continues on and spots a conjunction holding the weight of two complete sentences. Bartheleme was accepted into the University of Chicago, and he is on the waitlist for Stanford University. The comma asks the conjunction if he needs help. Of course he does! Hurry! The comma rushes and places itself before the conjunction. Fanboys aren't as militant as subordinates. For this reason, the commas don't have to fall in line behind the fanboys. Fanboys are courteous creatures. They allow the comma to go ahead of them. Helping others is hard work! On her way home, our comma sees a conjunction holding up the weight of a complete sentence and a fragment sentence. Bartheleme is going to major in molecular biology or interpretive dance. The now-exhausted comma asks the conjunction if he needs help lifting the items. This is one of the rare occassions where a conjunction doesn't need the help of a comma. The conjunction assures the comma that help isn't needed, which is good for the comma because by now, all it wants to do is go home and rest up for another day of vigilant sentence constructing.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
comma asks 5
complete sentences 4
clever comma 2
wwe heavyweight 2
heavyweight champions 2
bartheleme loves 2
comma rushes 2
complete sentence 2
conjunction holding 2

ngrams of length 3

collocation frequency
wwe heavyweight champions 2

Important Words

  1. accepted
  2. acronym
  3. admit
  4. appalled
  5. arm
  6. arms
  7. asks
  8. assistance
  9. assures
  10. attempting
  11. balance
  12. balancing
  13. bartheleme
  14. basic
  15. biology
  16. bit
  17. capable
  18. carrying
  19. champions
  20. characters
  21. chicago
  22. clauses
  23. clear
  24. clever
  25. comma
  26. commas
  27. common
  28. commonly
  29. community
  30. complete
  31. conjunction
  32. conjunctions
  33. connect
  34. constructing
  35. continues
  36. correctly
  37. couple
  38. courteous
  39. creatures
  40. dance
  41. day
  42. debate
  43. dependent
  44. distributed
  45. easier
  46. easily
  47. engaging
  48. evenly
  49. fall
  50. fanboys
  51. fragment
  52. friends
  53. front
  54. good
  55. hand
  56. hard
  57. heavy
  58. heavyweight
  59. helping
  60. heroine
  61. hold
  62. holding
  63. home
  64. house
  65. idea
  66. independent
  67. interpretive
  68. involved
  69. items
  70. law
  71. leaves
  72. lift
  73. lifting
  74. line
  75. loses
  76. lot
  77. loves
  78. major
  79. meet
  80. mighty
  81. militant
  82. molecular
  83. needed
  84. needing
  85. neighborhood
  86. nice
  87. nimble
  88. objects
  89. occassions
  90. parts
  91. phrases
  92. physics
  93. picking
  94. place
  95. places
  96. political
  97. power
  98. prioritized
  99. rare
  100. reason
  101. remember
  102. remembering
  103. require
  104. rest
  105. roams
  106. rules
  107. rushes
  108. scenarios
  109. sees
  110. sentence
  111. sentences
  112. service
  113. sides
  114. simple
  115. sing
  116. sings
  117. small
  118. spots
  119. stanford
  120. strongest
  121. struggling
  122. subordinate
  123. subordinates
  124. tells
  125. thought
  126. time
  127. tiny
  128. today
  129. tricky
  130. trouble
  131. unequal
  132. university
  133. vigilant
  134. waitlist
  135. weigh
  136. weight
  137. words
  138. wwe