Review Exercise: Adding Commas to a Paragraph

The Least Successful Car

1958 Edsel citation
1958 Edsel. Heritage Images/Getty Images

This exercise offers practice in applying the rules for using commas effectively. Before attempting the exercise, you may find it helpful to review this article on comma usage.

In the following paragraph, insert commas wherever you think they belong. (Try reading the paragraph aloud: at least in some cases, you should be able to hear where commas are needed.) When you are done, compare your work with the correctly punctuated version of the paragraph on page two.

The Least Successful Car

In 1957 Ford produced the car of the decade--the Edsel. Half of the models sold proved to be spectacularly defective. If lucky the proud owner of an Edsel could enjoy any or all of the following features: doors that wouldn't close hoods and trunks that wouldn't open batteries that went dead horns that stuck hubcaps that dropped off paint that peeled transmissions that seized up brakes that failed and push buttons that couldn't be pushed even with three people trying. In a stroke of marketing genius the Edsel one of the largest and most lavish cars ever built coincided with rising public interest in economy cars. As Time magazine reported "It was a classic case of the wrong car for the wrong market at the wrong time." Never popular to begin with the Edsel quickly became a national joke. One business writer at the time likened the car's sales graph to an extremely dangerous ski slope.

He added that so far as he knew there was only one case of an Edsel ever being stolen.

When you are done, compare your work with the correctly punctuated version of the paragraph below

The Least Successful Car

(Paragraph With Commas Restored)

In 1957[,] Ford produced the car of the decade--the Edsel. Half of the models sold proved to be spectacularly defective.

If lucky[,] the proud owner of an Edsel could enjoy any or all of the following features: doors that wouldn't close[,] hoods and trunks that wouldn't open[,] batteries that went dead[,] horns that stuck[,] hubcaps that dropped off[,] paint that peeled[,] transmissions that seized up[,] brakes that failed[,] and push buttons that couldn't be pushed even with three people trying. In a stroke of marketing genius[,] the Edsel[,] one of the largest and most lavish cars ever built[,] coincided with rising public interest in economy cars. As Time magazine reported[,] "It was a classic case of the wrong car for the wrong market at the wrong time." Never popular to begin with[,] the Edsel quickly became a national joke. One business writer at the time likened the car's sales graph to an extremely dangerous ski slope. He added that so far as he knew there was only one case of an Edsel ever being stolen.