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Why is there only one comma instead of two? Options
Koh Elaine
Posted: Sunday, March 19, 2017 11:41:19 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/4/2012
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The robot turns left or right, and vacuums while you watch TV or exercise. Take a nap, and the house is clean when you get up. The robot moves around corners and washes the floor while you listen to music or check your e-mail.

Why is there a comma after 'right', but none after 'corners'? Aren't they of the same structure?

Thanks.

You know who I am
Posted: Sunday, March 19, 2017 12:02:06 PM

Rank: Member

Joined: 1/13/2017
Posts: 569
Neurons: 4,537
Location: Olinda, Pernambuco, Brazil
Koh Elaine wrote:
The robot turns left or right, and vacuums while you watch TV or exercise. Take a nap, and the house is clean when you get up. The robot moves around corners and washes the floor while you listen to music or check your e-mail.

Why is there a comma after 'right', but none after 'corners'? Aren't they of the same structure?

Thanks.



Hi, Koh Elaine.

In "left or right, and vacuums", as you can see, there are 3 alternatives; the rule is that you must place one comma before the last alternative when there are 3 or more alternatives; when there are only two, the comma isn't necessary, only the coordinating conjunction "and" or "or". E.G:

You can choose between soccer, baseball or golf.
You can choose between soccer, baseball and golf.
You can choose between soccer or baseball.
You can choose between soccer and baseball.


I am the way, and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me. - John 14:6
PlanetOfGiants
Posted: Sunday, March 19, 2017 12:14:44 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 7/4/2014
Posts: 29
Neurons: 29,374
You know who I am wrote:
Koh Elaine wrote:
The robot turns left or right, and vacuums while you watch TV or exercise. Take a nap, and the house is clean when you get up. The robot moves around corners and washes the floor while you listen to music or check your e-mail.

Why is there a comma after 'right', but none after 'corners'? Aren't they of the same structure?

Thanks.



Hi, Koh Elaine.

In "left or right, and vacuums", as you can see, there are 3 alternatives; the rule is that you must place one comma before the last alternative when there are 3 or more alternatives; when there are only two, the comma isn't necessary, only the coordinating conjunction "and" or "or". E.G:


You can only have TWO "alternatives"; any more than that and they are termed "options".
Ashwin Joshi
Posted: Sunday, March 19, 2017 12:21:15 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/3/2016
Posts: 1,021
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Location: Jandiāla Guru, Punjab, India
Koh Elaine wrote:
The robot turns left or right, and vacuums while you watch TV or exercise. Take a nap, and the house is clean when you get up. The robot moves around corners and washes the floor while you listen to music or check your e-mail.


Koh consider the following;

The robot turns 360 degrees, vacuums the home articles while you watch TV or exercise, take a nap and the house is clean when you get up. Further, the robot moves round the corners and washes the floor while you enjoy your music or check e-mail.


Me Gathering Pebbles at The Seashore.-Aj
You know who I am
Posted: Sunday, March 19, 2017 12:24:29 PM

Rank: Member

Joined: 1/13/2017
Posts: 569
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Location: Olinda, Pernambuco, Brazil
PlanetOfGiants wrote:
You know who I am

You can only have TWO "alternatives"; any more than that and they are termed "options".


Hi, sir.

I think the term "alternatives" has no restriction regarding limits of choices.

However, I was quite curious about it, so I decided to look it up in Google: https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/alternative-vs-option.2386218/

There are a plenty of answers regarding this topic; some say that the word "alternative" is derived from Latin, which means: either it or it, i.e: it implies only two choices (just like you said), however, others don't agree on it; they say that this termology doesn't affect in the English language and that there are no restrictions regarding it.


I am the way, and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me. - John 14:6
papo_308
Posted: Sunday, March 19, 2017 12:28:57 PM
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Joined: 3/29/2012
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Location: Velké Meziříčí, Vysocina, Czech Republic
I don't think that "left", "right" and "vacuums" can be considered alternatives (or options).
"left" and "right" are two alternatives for where the robot turns.
"vacuums" is a verb and it says what the robot is doing while turning left or right.

As to the original question, I think that the comma after "right" could be left out. On the other hand, it separates two slightly different clauses and there would probably be a pause when saying the whole sentence aloud.

I wonder how the native speakers see it.
You know who I am
Posted: Sunday, March 19, 2017 12:33:38 PM

Rank: Member

Joined: 1/13/2017
Posts: 569
Neurons: 4,537
Location: Olinda, Pernambuco, Brazil
papo_308 wrote:
I don't think that "left", "right" and "vacuums" can be considered alternatives (or options).
"left" and "right" are two alternatives for where the robot turns.
"vacuums" is a verb and it says what the robot is doing while turning left or right.



You are totally right, papo_308.
Neither can be considered alternatives since we aren't choosing the side to where the robot will turn but telling what side it is able to turn.

I used alternative and choices as examples for when there are more than 3 options or alternatives.

I am the way, and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me. - John 14:6
Ashwin Joshi
Posted: Sunday, March 19, 2017 12:39:03 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/3/2016
Posts: 1,021
Neurons: 62,931
Location: Jandiāla Guru, Punjab, India
Had I prepared or manufactured or directed an app,it would be moving 360 degrees for a perfect helper.

Me Gathering Pebbles at The Seashore.-Aj
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