How to use commas part 3

The gapping comma

The gapping comma is very simple. It is used to avoid repetition and to show that words have been left out.

For example:

The blue files contain invoices from 2012; the red files, from 2013.

The words that have been left out are “contain invoices”.

Another example:

The matrix is split into two parts: one encompassing the changes made to the draft by PP; the other, by TH.

The words that have been left out are “encompassing the changes made to the draft ”.

Now look at this example:

An appeal is examined within 21 days, and a complaint, within 60 days of the date they are filed.

Here the words that have been left out are “is examined within”.

I have used a gapping comma here, but it’s not really necessary, as you see below:

An appeal is examined within 21 days, and a complaint within 60 days of the date they are filed.

So you have a choice with gapping commas – don’t use one if the sentence makes sense without it, but put one in if you’re doubtful.

 

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