Grammar Rule – How to Steal An Apple Using Commas

Disclaimer: I do not own Merry or Pippin. They simply dropped by on their way home from Frodo and Bilbo’s birthday party (which was on September 22nd) and asked if they could help me out. Of course, I said yes. They’d like to take this moment to wish Frodo and Bilbo a happy belated birthday. 🙂

Pippin was walking to Merry’s house when he saw the biggest, juiciest, reddest apple he’d ever seen just sitting on a barrel. Pippin’s stomach growled. He could almost taste the crisp fruit from where he was standing. Pippin looked both ways and then darted over, snatched the apple up, and polished it on his shirt. He was about to take a big bite when a shout came from behind him.

“Pippin! That apple is mine not yours! I just put it there a minute ago.”

Pippin turned around to see his friend Merry standing there, very miffed. He folded his arms across his chest as he glared at Pippin.

Pippin looked at the apple, then back to his friend. Something Merry had said bothered him. “Merry, you forgot a comma!”

Merry shook his head. “I know there was no need for a comma in that sentence! You’re just trying to distract me as you run off with MY apple.”

Pippin shook his head. “No, Merry. I’m pretty sure you’re missing a comma!”

Oh no! Who was going to solve this grammar mystery? Was Pippin just trying to steal a snack or was he really concerned for his friend’s comma usage? Read on to find out! 😉

Contrasting Commas

“This is my precious, not your precious!” Gollum told Sméagol.

When you have contrasting parts of a sentence, a comma is needed between the two parts. In this example, Gollum is contrasting “my precious” with “your precious,” so a comma is needed between the two.

Aragorn never takes a bath, unlike Legolas who takes three baths a day.

Words like “not,” “never,” and “unlike” often indicate a contrast. In this sentence, Aragorn’s bathing habits are being contrasted with Legolas’s, so a comma is needed between the two parts of the sentence.

Denathor always compliments Boromir, never Faramir.

There is a “never” between Boromir and Faramir, which shows they are being contrasted. That means a comma is again needed.

That apple is mine, not yours!

Sorry Merry, but Pippin was right. The “not” indicates a contrast between “mine” and “yours.” That means a comma is needed between the two parts.

Merry sighed, realizing that Pippin was right. “I guess you win that one, Pippin. It’s still my apple, though.”

Pippin handed the apple back to his friend wistfully. “I suppose it is.”

“It’s quite a big apple for one Hobbit to eat,” remarked Merry. “Why don’t we share it?” Merry sliced the apple in half with his pocket knife and handed one half over to Pippin.

Pippin smiled and took the offered half. “Now it’s both our apple! Which makes the commas even easier to figure out!”

Merry and Pippin say thanks for reading! 🙂

~ Kayla



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