1

I found some sentence here;

"They also live in Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador where they reside mainly on estuaries, lagoons, mud flats and salt lakes."

I understood like this: They also live in Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador. and in the countries they resides mainly on estuaries, lagoons, mud flats and salt lakes.

Am I wrong, or did the writer forget to put in a comma before "where"?

I want to know your opinions.

3

In the sentence:

They also live in Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador where they reside mainly on estuaries, lagoons, mud flats and salt lakes.

we can distinguish two clauses. The main clause:

They also live in Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador.

and a subordinate clause:

where they reside mainly on estuaries, lagoons, mud flats and salt lakes.

Note that the meaning of the main clause doesn't change if the subordinate clause is removed.


The following is my understanding of the usage of comma and "where" that I have come across:

  • A comma is advised if the where-clause can be removed without altering the meaning of the main clause. For example:

    I first saw him in Paris, where I lived in the early sixties

  • A comma is not advised if the where-clause cannot be removed. For example:

    This is where I live


Hence, in the OP's quote I would use a comma:

They also live in Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador, where they reside mainly on estuaries, lagoons, mud flats and salt lakes.

0

The sentence construction is correct as-is.

The author meant to imply that apart from Chile, the flamingo chicks also live in Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador and in these countries they reside mainly on estuaries, lagoons [...] and salt lakes.

There is no comma before where in order to introduce continuity, describing the living conditions in the aforementioned countries.

Suggest to take a look at the various (correct) ways of using a comma, as described in the Oxford Dictionaries.

  • 1
    I've just checked the link to the Oxford Dictionaries, which describes the Oxford-comma, and they recommend the use of a comma before where. – Nico Aug 28 '14 at 12:37
  • Note: in separate clauses. – Manish Giri Aug 28 '14 at 12:38
  • Matrix clause = "They also live in Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador"; Subordinate clause = "where they reside mainly on estuaries, lagoons, mud flats and salt lakes"? – Nico Aug 28 '14 at 12:40
0
  • "They also live in Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador where they reside mainly on estuaries, lagoons, mud flats and salt lakes."

Here are two clauses:

  • They also live in Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador
  • where they reside mainly on estuaries, lagoons, mud flats and salt lakes

The relative pronoun "where" introduces a relative clause. Some relative clauses are not used to define or identify the preceding noun (nouns) but to give extra information about it. Such clauses are called non-defining.

The "where they reside mainly on estuaries, lagoons, mud flats and salt lakes." looks much like a non-defining relative clause and so requires a comma before "where". So in my opinion the correct punctuation would be:

  • "They also live in Argentina, Bolivia, and Ecuador, where they reside mainly on estuaries, lagoons, mud flats, and salt lakes."

The use of the Oxford comma is optional before "and Ecuador" and "and salt lakes", however, I like it best when it's there.

0

The comma in this sentence wouldn't be recommended because the second clause is an identifying one. If you would remove it, it would change the scope/area of the first clause.

For example, deserts would be included while using only the first clause but would be excluded by adding the second clause. That requires the two clauses to be kept together without a ",".

A few examples are given here "https://www.grammar-quizzes.com/clauses-4.html" in the section "An identifying vs. Nonidentifying Clause".

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We don't put comma before where in such case. That's because the author is telling us what places do (in those countries) they live in.

When where serves as an adverb, it generally does not take comma before it. It simply talks about which/what place.

I know where he is - the 'adverb' use of "where".

We also use where as a conjunction and there it takes a comma. But there, it'd mean *on the contrary or on the other hand

I like opera, where he prefers ballet - the 'conjunction' use of "where".

The source is here on WordWebOnline.

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