5-item Comma Quiz and Free Book

So, you think you know commas? Take a look at these 5 items from the Zen Comma comma quiz. See if you can figure out where to add or remove the commas. Each item needs at least one comma added or removed.

  1. Bumbo graduated on October 31, 2007 from the Zen Comma School, with the ceremony held in the Temple of Meaning.
  2. Yes I can meet you tomorrow at 2:00 after I meet with the clients.
  3. Either the air pollution is increasing in urban areas, or municipal water purification systems are becoming aged and ineffective.
  4. 300 Days of Better Writing another book by David Bowman has useful advice about writing clearly.
  5. The new bio-fuels which provide lower grade fuel at a higher price are incompatible with many older engine models.

What to do: Copy the items, put them in a comment, and add or remove the commas as necessary. Don’t change any words. Make sure to use a valid e-mail address.

What you’ll get: The first two people who get all five correct will receive a free copy of Zen Comma. (Thus, if you already have Zen Comma, please don’t contribute.) I’ll check answers around lunchtime on 3/28/12. I’ll point out the correct responses and determine who gets the free copies of Zen Comma.

Remember: This is just for fun. If you win a book, great! If you don’t, I hope you at least found it interesting and instructional.

More info: The entire quiz, found at the back of Zen Comma, has 34 items. The answers are immediately after the quiz, along with a cross-reference to the Zen Comma rule in case you get it wrong and need to study the comma use.

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  1. #1 by Natalie on March 28, 2012 - 5:01 pm

    1) Bumbo graduated on October 31, 2007, from the Zen Comma School, with the ceremony held in the Temple of Meaning.

    2) Yes, I can meet you tomorrow at 2:00 after I meet with the clients.

    3) Either the air pollution is increasing in urban areas or municipal water purification systems are becoming aged and ineffective.

    4) 300 Days of Better Writing, another book by David Bowman, has useful advice about writing clearly.

    5) The new bio-fuels, which provide lower grade fuel at a higher price, are incompatible with many older engine models.

    • #2 by preciseedit on March 29, 2012 - 10:25 am

      Congratulations, Natalie! I’m sending you a free copy of Zen Comma.

  2. #3 by SMD on March 28, 2012 - 5:10 pm

    1) Bumbo graduated on October 31, 2007 from the Zen Comma School with the ceremony held in the Temple of Meaning.
    2) Yes, I can meet you tomorrow at 2:00 after I meet with the clients.
    3) Either the air pollution is increasing in urban areas or municipal water purification systems are becoming aged and ineffective.
    4) 300 Days of Better Writing, another book by David Bowman, has useful advice about writing clearly.
    5) The new bio-fuels, which provide lower grade fuel at a higher price, are incompatible with many older engine models.

  3. #4 by Margaret on March 28, 2012 - 5:56 pm

    1) Bumbo graduated on October 31, 2007 from the Zen Comma School with the ceremony held in the Temple of Meaning.
    2) Yes, I can meet you tomorrow at 2:00 after I meet with the clients.
    3) Either the air pollution is increasing in urban areas or municipal water purification systems are becoming aged and ineffective.
    4) 300 Days of Better Writing, another book by David Bowman, has useful advice about writing clearly.
    5) The new bio-fuels, which provide lower grade fuel at a higher price, are incompatible with many older engine models.

  4. #5 by Rachel Cooper on March 28, 2012 - 5:59 pm

    1) Bumbo graduated on October 31, 2007, from the Zen Comma School, with the ceremony held in the Temple of Meaning.
    2) Yes, I can meet you tomorrow at 2:00, after I meet with the clients.
    3) Either the air pollution is increasing in urban areas or municipal water purification systems are becoming aged and ineffective.
    4) 300 Days of Better Writing, another book by David Bowman, has useful advice about writing clearly.
    5) The new bio-fuels, which provide lower grade fuel at a higher price, are incompatible with many older engine models.

  5. #6 by Elisabeth on March 28, 2012 - 6:30 pm

    Bumbo graduated on October 31, 2007, from the Zen Comma School, with the ceremony held in the Temple of Meaning.
    Yes, I can meet you tomorrow at 2:00 after I meet with the clients.
    Either the air pollution is increasing in urban areas or municipal water purification systems are becoming aged and ineffective.
    300 Days of Better Writing, another book by David Bowman, has useful advice about writing clearly.
    The new bio-fuels, which provide lower grade fuel at a higher price, are incompatible with many older engine models.

    • #7 by preciseedit on March 29, 2012 - 10:25 am

      Congratulations, Elisabeth! I’m sending you a free copy of Zen Comma.

  6. #8 by Tess on March 28, 2012 - 6:31 pm

    1. Bumbo graduated on October 31, 2007, from the Zen Comma School, with the ceremony held in the Temple of Meaning.
    2. Yes, I can meet you tomorrow at 2:00, after I meet with the clients.
    3. Either the air pollution is increasing in urban areas or municipal water purification systems are becoming aged and ineffective.
    4. 300 Days of Better Writing, another book by David Bowman, has useful advice about writing clearly.
    5. The new bio-fuels, which provide lower grade fuel at a higher price, are incompatible with many older engine models.

  7. #9 by robinconnelly on March 29, 2012 - 9:49 am

    Bumbo graduated on October 31, 2007 from the Zen Comma School with the ceremony held in the Temple of Meaning.
    Yes, I can meet you tomorrow at 2:00 after I meet with the clients.
    Either the air pollution is increasing in urban areas or municipal water purification systems are becoming aged and ineffective.
    300 Days of Better Writing, another book by David Bowman, has useful advice about writing clearly.
    The new bio-fuels, which provide lower grade fuel at a higher price, are incompatible with many older engine models.

  8. #10 by preciseedit on March 29, 2012 - 10:23 am

    First, here are the answers.

    1. Bumbo graduated on October 31, 2007[add comma] from the Zen Comma School, with the ceremony held in the Temple of Meaning.
    Rule AC: Put commas around the year when the month and day are included.

    2. Yes[add comma] I can meet you tomorrow at 2:00 after I meet with the clients.
    Rule I: Separate interjections with commas.

    3. Either the air pollution is increasing in urban areas[remove comma] or municipal water purification systems are becoming aged and ineffective.
    Rule AI: Don’t separate the two halves of a correlative pair with a comma.

    4. 300 Days of Better Writing[add comma] another book by David Bowman[add comma] has useful advice about writing clearly.
    Rule J: Separate non-restrictive appositives with commas.

    5. The new bio-fuels[add comma] which provide lower grade fuel at a higher price[add comma] are incompatible with many older engine models.
    Rule T: Use commas to separate non-restrictive phrases and clauses starting with which.

    Second, here are the first two people who got all 5 correct.
    Natalie (#1)
    Elisabeth (#5)

    Congratulations, winners! I’ll send each of you a free PDF of Zen Comma!

    And thanks to each of you who participated. I hope you found this interesting and informative.

  9. #11 by Smith on April 23, 2012 - 10:14 pm

    Why the comma between “School” and “with” in number 1?

    • #12 by preciseedit on April 27, 2012 - 11:54 am

      Good question. Let’s first look again at #1:
      Bumbo graduated on October 31, 2007, from the Zen Comma School, with the ceremony held in the Temple of Meaning.

      Based on the basic principle that commas separate unique elements in sentences, the comma after “Zen Comma School” separates “Zen Comma School” from “with the ceremony….” That comma indicates that the phrase “with the ceremony…” is not connected to and, therefore, does not describe the school.

      This follows Zen Comma rule W: Use commas to separate final decriptions that don’t refer to the immediately preceding text.

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