Comma - Anne's question


I got a message from an long standing friend of mine.  She is educating some youngsters in her home country, China, and trying to make sense of English in order to pass it along in a correct fashion.


Anne(Luly)  Hi, Roger. I have two questions to ask you, OK? 

Anne(Luly) 1. everybody sing or everybody sings?


Everybody in this case means each of you - every one - or every body - so it is a "command" being given to EACH person - and demands the singular - sing.  If instead the message were everybody in this room is singing - it would be everybody sings.



Anne(Luly)  2. did eyes ears mouth need comma between them?


The comma after head and shoulders suggests that you are saying them as one phrase - saying them as if one. Head and shoulders.

But, eyes ears mouth and nose has no common meaning -  you are just enumerating parts - not saying them together as a phrase.  Therefore they do not need a comma.


Anne(Luly)  So,eyes ears mouth nose, we just say them as words one by one. don't need a comma?


If they were saying it takes eyes, ears, mouth, and nose to make a face you would use a comma, but I think they are just naming parts in that section.


Sometimes commas are a matter of how you want to express something.


Jack and Jill, Bill and Jake, these are each pairs of people so we set off each pair with a comma.  As we read this aloud, we take a bit of a breath between each "set" to emphasize the fact that they are paired, and to give some expression to our reading.


But, "Come over here jack bill jill and jake" -  just calling to each individually does not call for a comma between the names. The author is trying to tell you how he wants the names to be grouped in the exercise about which you asked.


Anne(Luly) hmm i see. in this song we just name parts of body and show them to the students, so there no need to use the comma.


Yes but when the comma was used the author wants the student to think of a pair - head and shoulders,


So you say head and shoulders (take a 1/2 breath before going on). Eyes nose skin (take no breath between the words.


Think of famous couples: Romeo and Juliet, Adam and Eve, and couples like that - you put the comma between each couple, but not between each name.


The two are grouped together, so you say Romeo and Juliet as a unit - take a short breath and then say Adam and Eve.


On the other hand, this construction:  Juliet Romeo Adam and Eve are names of people, so the whole sentence is said with no breath between phrases.  It is all one phrase


I want you to think about each of these names: Romeo, Adam, Eve, and Juliet. So I draw attention to each name because the "," shows there is a slightly "spacing" or breath in the expression.


Roger (USA) 1:04:57 AM The sort of things you were quoting seem more to be interested in how to express them than in what the grammatical relationship is between the words.  The spacing draws a bit of attention to each name.


Anne(Luly)  So use comma or not, it doesn't means wrong or right.  It just depends what meaning you want to show, right ?





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