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More uses for commas

David and Paige, KA’s resident grammarians, discuss tag questions, yes and no statements, and direct address -- all situations where the comma is super useful. 

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  • starky ultimate style avatar for user <3 Sharna ~ Connolly <3
    How come the second example: 'This won't hurt, will it?' has negative first then positive? Shouldn't the 'This won't hurt' part be a positive statement and the ',will it?' part the negative doubt? Hope that makes sense :)
    (23 votes)
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  • leafers tree style avatar for user ダニエル
    I get the tag questions, but I have a hard time answering them, literally...
    can please someone help me out??
    When they end in a negative phrase--like "don't you?"-- and I like cheese, is it correct to say "yes, I do"? And if I don't like cheese is it correct to say "no, I don't"?

    example questions:
    positive negative
    You like cheese, don't you?

    negative positive
    This won't hurt, will it??

    Thank you... this will really help... ㅠㅠ
    (5 votes)
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    • aqualine tree style avatar for user David Alexander
      The key is not in "answering" so much as "agreeing with the direction (negative or positive) of the statement that precedes the question. I used to be able to explain it that way, but right now, it fails me to do so.
      Let's try some examples. "You like Suzie, don't you?" If you like Suzie, you say "yes". If you do not like Suzie, you say, "no". So, "yes" indicates agreeent, and "no" indicates disagreement. BUT, in the opposite direction, "You aren't going to Beijing, are you?" If you're not going to Beijing, you say, "No". If you are, indeed, bound in that direction, you say "yes". In this way, "no" indicates agreement, and "yes" indicates disagreement.
      I suggest you construct some "tag question" examples of your own and see if using this formula (agree or disagree with the statement that precedes the question by matching its direction) works.

      In your examples (above) If I like cheese, and agree with you, I answer, "yes, I do". If the shot won't hurt, the answer is "no, it won't"
      (9 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Freckledfrog
    This is what I was looking for! I should have asked my previous question in this section.

    I wanted to see if someone could help me my question…
    Let’s say I told my friend that I’m going to see my grandmother
    Then later on she asked me if I had said I’m NOT going to see my grandmother
    Which is the correct way to answer her question?

    A. “No, I said I’m going to see her”
    B. “Yes, I said I’m going to see her”

    In my first language which is Japanese would answer it like A. the "No" implies
    "No I didn't say that. what I said was I'm going to see her"
    but sometimes I get confused to answer “Yes” and “No” questions as I found out
    English has a different way to answer them. therefore I confuse other people.
    especially with “—right?” questions

    e.g.,)
    “You are not gonna see a movie since you have an exam tomorrow right?”
    if I wanted to say I won’t go

    A. “Yes, I won’t see a movie”
    B. “No, I won't see a movie”

    Which is the correct answer? I appreciate your help.
    (6 votes)
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    • piceratops seed style avatar for user Vir12abc
      I would think it would be "No, I said I'm going to see her." because the person asked if you said you aren't going to see her. You would say yes if you said that and no if you didn't say that. The second example would be yes since you are agreeing that you won't see a movie
      (4 votes)
  • hopper jumping style avatar for user Raven
    So at When he wrote the sentence to Paige: You like cheese, don't you?
    When he wrote don't that is the same as do not, but it did not make any sense:
    You like cheese, do not you? Why would David write that?
    (2 votes)
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    • hopper cool style avatar for user Pdking Pro
      Would you rather be saying “Hi, is not the Statue of Liberty cool?” or “Hi, isn’t the Statue of Liberty cool?”
      You might be from somewhere different that thinks that it would make sense to put the two words in a contraction separate, but some sentences just have to have it that way.
      Or maybe you’re American. In which case it’s a bit weird.
      (9 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Kit_kat
    In the beginning of the video, why doe's it have a comma in the sentence it says "You like cheese, don't you" why is the comma in between the word cheese and don't?
    (3 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user 8035715
    so what if you ask Paige i'm going to the store later you want some cheese don't you how do you punctuate that
    (3 votes)
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    • starky tree style avatar for user osu
      I would say:
      "I'm going to the store later. Do you want some cheese, don't you?"
      I think these other examples will also help you:
      "The truck just passed by, and was loud."
      "Hotels don't tend to look organized, so I prefer to stay home."
      Periods end the sentece.
      Commas are used for pauses within the sentence, and are really used after an announcement or something like that is called. You should use periods for a long pause, and commas for a short pause. Just imagine reading, and at some point you're out of breath, you'll need to pause.
      Sorry if this is wrong, I'm doing rusty lately with grammar, and myself think I should go back to lessons shortly
      (2 votes)
  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Eric Helms 2
    In the beginning of the video, why doe's it have a comma in the sentence it says "You like cheese, don't you" why is the comma in between the word cheese and don't?
    (2 votes)
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  • leaf green style avatar for user que bom!
    Those who know must lead. If you only can decide, who knows.

    Can I use the comma in this position?
    (2 votes)
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  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Silver
    I am little confuse... with this Sentence.. ( Paige, how are you).. When I looked at the comma and I was like wait.. It is little weird when you do need to add comma every time you see a name then comma which I think that is wrong.. But if you are doing letter card and list then it is right.. But I think we don't need to add comma after name when it not separate sentence.. (Paige how are you).

    I would appreciate if you clear this for me since I am confuse.. Thank you!
    (2 votes)
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    • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Naomi
      Great question Silver! Here is how I explain it:

      So, you need to add the comma after using a name, because you are still addressing who you are talking to, and then asking how they are. For example, people usually take a pause before saying 'how are you' after adressing who they are talking to. Also, if you asked, "Hi, how are you?", wouldn't you put a comma?

      I hope this helps, enjoy your day,

      Naomi
      (2 votes)
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user panvita
    The second example, "This won't hurt, will it?" is the same type of sentence as the first example, "You like cheese, don't you?". There is a positive in the beginning and a negative at the end of both examples.
    (2 votes)
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    • male robot johnny style avatar for user Aneesh
      Well, the facts that the negative assertion has the word "won't" makes it negative. If it was a positive-negative sentence it would be something like, "This will hurt, won't it?" Notice how I bolded will. I hope this answers your question.
      (1 vote)

Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Hello, grammarians, and hello, Paige. - [Voiceover] Hi, David. - [Voiceover] Paige, I have a question for you. - [Voiceover] What's up? - [Voiceover] You like cheese, don't you? - [Voiceover] Why, yes, I do. - [Voiceover] So, Paige, what I've just asked you is an example of what's called a tag question. So I'm making an assertion and then I'm actually looking for confirmation; so I'm making a statement and then, consumed by doubt, I have to turn, comma, and ask you for confirmation. So I say: "You like cheese", comma, "don't you?" And so what's cool about tag questions is that they kind of follow this positive-negative flow. So it begins with a positive assertion, like: "Here is a thing that is true", and then the doubt, so you then negate it to ask the question. - [Voiceover] Right. - [Voiceover] You can also do this backwards and begin with a negative assertion and ask a positive question, like: "This won't hurt", comma, "will it?" And we're using the comma to perform its separating function because that's what commas do, and separate between the assertion and the doubt question. And that's what tag questions are. Sorry to just launch into it. So today we're gonna talk about tag questions, direct address, and using commas in the context of yes and no. - [Voiceover] Right. - [Voiceover] So, Paige, how are you? - [Voiceover] Why are you asking me this? - [Voiceover] Because it's an example of direct address. So if I start off an utterance by directly addressing you, it follows a pause, I would say: "Paige," comma, "how are you?" - [Voiceover] I see. That makes sense. - [Voiceover] But also I'm interested in your well-being. - [Voiceover] Oh, well thank you! I'm good. - [Voiceover] Good. So if you're directly addressing a person, it doesn't have to be just Paige, it could also be me, it could also be Sal, whoever, you would say the name followed by a comma then the question, or whatever the sentence was going to be, like: "Paige, I'm going to the grocery store later. "Do you want some cheese?" - [Voiceover] Right. I do definitely want some cheese. - [Voiceover] So then in that response actually you could have the final thing we're going to talk about today, which is yes and no commas. So when you're answering a question, whether yes or no, you kind of use yes or no as sentence adverbs, kind of. It's an introductory element, so you would say: "Yes," comma, "I would love some cheese", or "No," comma, "I hate cheese" if it were like an alternate-universe version of you. - [Voiceover] Yeah, no, I definitely love cheese. - [Voiceover] But that's how it works. You would use, say, yes or no and follow it with a comma. So this is just another example of how powerful commas are. You can use them in all these different separating abilities. So you can separate between the tag question, the positive assertion and the negative question, like: "You like cheese," comma, "don't you?", or "This won't hurt," comma, "will it?" You can use it in direct address, like: "Paige," comma, "how are you?", and in yes-or-no responses, like "No," comma, "I hate cheese", or "Yes," comma, "I would love some cheese." - [Voiceover] Commas are so powerful. - [Voiceover] Yeah, for real. - [Voiceover] The viewer can learn anything, can't they? - [Voiceover] Yes, Paige, I believe they can. David out. - [Voiceover] Paige out.