Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Was That Meant Parenthetically? (Part 3 of 3)

Besides parentheses, we also use commas to set up parenthetical statements, transitional expressions, and mild interjections.

* His research indicates, surprisingly, that caffeine has healthy qualities.

* He tells his story chronologically, except the account of his accident.

* A severe frost, quite early for August, wiped out the tomato crop.

Here is where the intention of the writer makes the difference. In the examples above, I could have substituted dashes if I wanted to stress the interruptive elements. I decided that I didn't want to put the emphasis on the parenthetical expressions. The first sentence could have read: His research indicates—surprisingly—that caffeine has healthy qualities.

Parenthetical expressions, set off by commas, 
are "asides," and add interesting-but-not vital information.

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