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Old 10-02-2016, 12:48 PM   #1
Andrew B.
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Default Grammar question

Automated grammar checkers disagree on this one. Look at the two sentences. One has a comma the other does not. Which one do you prefer? Or maybe they are both good. Or both need improvement.

For three years I worked in the public sector for an agency that employed thousands of people.

For three years, I worked in the public sector for an agency that employed thousands of people.

   
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Old 10-02-2016, 02:40 PM   #2
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Not a native English speaker, but the first one feels better to me.

   
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Old 10-02-2016, 03:06 PM   #3
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I think which depends on whether the example is a single statement of fact versus the beginning of a longer statement.

A bio for example: "For three years, I worked in the public sector for an agency that employed thousands of people. This has has allowed me to gain experience...blah, blah, blah"



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Old 10-02-2016, 07:12 PM   #4
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Good point. So what if it was in this context:

"For three years, I worked in the public sector for an agency that employed thousands of people. They offered free medical insurance, which made employment there attractive to people with families. Many of these people told me that the insurance was their main reason for working there."

   
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Old 10-03-2016, 02:27 AM   #5
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The comma after years is wrong in the context of that example of prose. For our Oxford University entrance preparation we had to study the correct use of English, and pass an examination in that subject. The result is that when I see incorrect use of punctuation, even now, an alert sounds in my brain!

   
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Old 10-03-2016, 08:45 AM   #6
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What? You've never heard of the Anti-Oxford Comma????

   
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Old 10-03-2016, 12:10 PM   #7
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I would say no comma. Because you could also write the sentence -

I workedfor three years in the public sector for an agency that employed thousands of people.

Writing it that way does not use commas and also is better IMHO.

   
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Old 10-03-2016, 01:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
andrew: So what if it was in this context:
I think that the comma belongs there because it's sets off the term of employment which, depending on the rest of the text can be an indication of some level of experiential authority--vs. someone just hired.


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Old 10-03-2016, 01:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
kelvyn: The comma after years is wrong in the context of that example of prose.
Ok...let's say that the text in question is discussing health insurance coverage (or really anything where someone is a long time employee--vs. new hire--and that is pertinent to the discussion) and that person's opinion on how it affects not only hiring but the general work environment. In other words, it's something more than just a single sentence.

In that context, how long a person has been employed by the company becomes significant as they have real-world experience and the pause engendered by the comma is, I think, useful and informative.

Basically, I think context is important and that the rule should be flexible.


What say you? '-}}


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Old 10-04-2016, 01:42 AM   #10
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It's all about context. The prose on its own does not qualify to have a comma.

   
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