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Exercise in Punctuating Nonrestrictive Elements

Adding Commas to Set Off Nonrestrictive Phrases and Clauses

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As a general rule, nonrestrictive words, phrases, and clauses are set off with commas. After reviewing Restrictive and Nonrestrictive Adjective Clauses, test your punctuation prowess by completing this short exercise.

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Instructions:
Add commas to set off any nonrestrictive phrases, clauses, and appositives in the following sentences. Don't add commas if the elements are restrictive.

When you're done, compare your answers with those on page two.


  1. "My friends call me Tony which backwards is 'y not.'" (Michael Weatherly, NCIS)

  2. John Keats the great English Romantic poet said that "a thing of beauty is a joy forever."

  3. "The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers." (Thomas Jefferson)

  4. "We commit your final mortal remains to the bosom of the Pacific Ocean which you loved so well." (John Goodman, The Big Lebowski

  5. "Human beings who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." (Douglas Adams)

  6. "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." (Mark Twain)

  7. "We also sell frozen yogurt which I call 'frogurt.'" (The Simpsons)

  8. "People will buy anything that is one to a customer." (Sinclair Lewis)

  9. Theodor Geisel who is better known as Dr. Seuss described adults as "obsolete children."

  10. "People who work sitting down get paid more than those people who work standing up." (Ogden Nash)

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