When the classes were over, they came out in different groups, played games and ran races.

Is the sentence correct? Don't we need to use 'and' or ; instead of , ?

Or, shouldn't we change 'played...ran' to 'playing...running'?

  • 1
    It's a list. They didn't use an Oxford Comma, which would be placed before the and. When X, they Y, Z, and W. Y, Z, and W are sentence fragments that share the subject they.
    – Tkdestroyer2
    Nov 24, 2015 at 21:15
  • 2
    Grammatically, it's not incorrect as it stands. However, there is a sequentiality (they came out and then did A and B) meaning that this is better not treated as a simple list. I'd use both a comma and an 'and' to mark this: 'When the classes were over, they came out in different groups, and played games and ran races.' Nov 24, 2015 at 22:10

2 Answers 2


The sentence is correct as is: they came out, played games and ran races. Don't let the prepositional phrase (in different groups) throw you off.


The structure of the sentence is a List, breaking down three things that happened when the classes were over. And takes the place of a comma between the penultimate and final item in a list.

Were, came, played and ran are all using the Past Tense. The suggestion is that there were only two different groups, with one group agreeing to play games and the other group agreeing to run races.

If the groups broke themselves down into subgroups, each playing different games and running different races, then there would be ample reason to use the participle (as I have in this explanation).

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