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The following is an extract from 'Things Mr Bean does every Monday morning' that is found in Learn English Online -free beginners course-Unit 3,Lesson 11.

He gets up at 6.15am, and goes to the bathroom. He usually has a shower, then he has a shave and brushes his teeth. He eats breakfast at about 7.00am. After breakfast he reads the newspaper.

Hello,

1. Is the extract above punctuated correctly?

2. Why are commas required in the first and second sentences?

3. Why does the last sentence have no comma after 'breakfast'?

Thank you.

With best wishes.
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Comments  
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He gets up at 6.15 am and goes to the bathroom. He usually has a shower, and then he has a shave and brushes his teeth. He eats breakfast at about 7.00am. After breakfast, he reads the newspaper.

1. Is the extract above punctuated correctly? -- It is now.

2. Why are commas required in the first and second sentences? -- I have fixed the 1st sentence; the second requires a comma between independent clauses.

3. Why does the last sentence have no comma after 'breakfast'? -- It does now.
Hello Mister Micawber,

I appreciate your kind reply. Here, I would like to point out the second sentence that has two independent clauses joined by a conjunctive adverb is required to be separated by a semicolon. Further, a comma is then needed after the conjunctive adverb 'then'. I have recently found out about this information on the Internet, http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/grammar_subordinate.html , 'Subordinate Conjunction, Note 2, (B)'.

He usually has a shower, and then he has a shave and brushes his teeth.

He usually has a shower; then, he has a shave and brushes his teeth.


Thank you.

With best wishes.
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Yours is more awkward than mine, Bhikkhu.
Hello Mister Micawber,

I would like to thank you for your comment. Could you elaborate on the awkwardness of my punctuation, please?
Is the matter a rule of grammar rather than a form of awkwardness? Well, I have found 'and then' is a complex subordinator under 'Coherence: Transitions between ideas' in the 'Guide to Grammar and Writing' from the Internet, but your punctuation is in the form of FANBOYS. Could you explain the word 'then' after 'and' in your sentence?

He usually has a shower, and then he has a shave and brushes his teeth.

Thank you.

With best wishes.
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He usually has a shower, and then he has a shave and brushes his teeth.
He usually has a shower; then, he has a shave and brushes his teeth.


This is a mundane description of a daily activity. The semicolon and subsequent comma in the second sentence break the sentence into formal segments that do not reflect the quick, quotidian flow of banal activities. If there were not a subject in the second clause of the first sentence, I would eliminate its lone comma, too:

He usually has a shower and then has a shave and brushes his teeth.
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Mister Micawber is right. Also, use a semicolon in the first sentence only if you don't change the text. Thus it would be: "He usually has a shower; then he has a shave and brushes his teeth."

~R
Hello RonBee,

I would like to thank you for your suggestion. However, do you mean that your sentence below is also in informal writing? In formal writing, 'Thus' and 'then' are always followed by commas, am I right?

Thus it would be: "He usually has a shower; then he has a shave and brushes his teeth."

I am sure that the 'then' in the independent clause 'then he has a shave and brushes his teeth' can be placed in the middle and end position, that is, 'he then has a shave and brushes his teeth' and 'he has a shave and brushes his teeth then'. Do you agree?

Thank you.

With best wishes.
Hello Mister Micawber,

I have recently found out the rule of commas in the 'Guide to Grammar and Writing' is contradicting your remark, ' the second requires a comma between independent clauses'.

When a coordinating conjunction connects two independent clauses, it is often (but not always) accompanied by a comma:
  • Ulysses wants to play for UConn, but he has had trouble meeting the academic requirements.
When the two independent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction are nicely balanced or brief, many writers will omit the comma:
  • Ulysses has a great jump shot but he isn't quick on his feet.
Thank you.

With best wishes.
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