2
  1. He drew a deep breath as they slowly lowered the rope.
  2. He drew a deep breath as, slowly, they lowered the rope.
  3. He drew a deep breath as slowly, they lowered the rope.

I wrote the sentence above (no. 3) and someone told me that it's grammatically incorrect. The grammatically correct ones should be sentence number 1 or number 2.

I know that comma means pause, but I am puzzled why the correct answers are in two forms. Could someone please explain to me?

  • I suggest you try Googling commas used to indicate pause myth, and reading through what you find. When reading aloud, we often pause where we encounter commas; however, that is not their primary purpose. – J.R. Jun 26 at 20:48
  • Your first sentence uses a different word order. You are changing more than just the location (or existence) of commas. You shouldn't do that. Change only one variable. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jun 28 at 23:40
1
  1. He drew a deep breath as they slowly lowered the rope.

A grammatically correct sentence. No commas.

  1. He drew a deep breath as, slowly, they lowered the rope.

This one is quite interesting. Without the commas, it would be incorrect. The commas separate out the word "slowly", so that it modifies the entire following phrase, as in:

"Slowly, they lowered the rope."

Otherwise, without the comma, the adverb should be placed next to the verb:

"They slowly lowered the rope."

The same way as adjectives are placed immediately before a noun, an adverb precedes a verb.

  1. He drew a deep breath as slowly, they lowered the rope.

This is incorrect. Ordinarily, "slowly" should be right before the verb, or at the beginning (or end) of the phrase, to modify the whole phrase. Here you are positioning "slowly" as the last word in the first part:

"He drew a deep breath as slowly"

which makes no sense.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.