Can anyone please help me out and indicate the mistake in this exchange?

“Is John ill? He’s lost a lot of weight.” “Yes, he is rather slender these days, isn’t he?”

I am not so sure about the way the second sentence is punctuated.

2 Answers 2


Punctuation is a matter of style and preference and it largely depends on which style book you or your editor use. However, using a comma is not as much confusing as other punctuation marks.

According to the linked Commas: Quick Rules by Purdue University:

Use commas after introductory a) clauses, b) phrases, or c) words that come before the main clause... Common introductory words that should be followed by a comma include yes, however, well.

  1. The word yes is an interjection and it is usually placed at the beginning of a sentence. It could be considered as a word that come before the main clause which requires a comma.

Use a comma near the end of a sentence to separate contrasted coordinate elements or to indicate a distinct pause or shift.

  1. isn't he in the sentence is called a tag question which could be considered as one of contrasted coordinate elements. Therefore, a comma is required before the tag question.
  • Thank you for the help Rathony. So, if the second sentence is correct does that mean the first sentence has some errors? This exchange is part of an exercise and I have to identify the mistake, which I am not able to point out. Feb 12, 2016 at 17:22
  • 1
    @MairaRaheel There is no mistake. What makes you think the first sentence should have some errors just because the second sentence doesn't? I would only rephrase the first sentence to "He seems to have lost a lot of weight."
    – user24743
    Feb 12, 2016 at 17:39

The punctuation in your second sentence is fine

Yes, he is rather slender these days, isn’t he?

These may help you better understand here and here

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .