GRAMMAR RULE #4: Use either two commas or none with interjected phrases that begin with not, depending on whether pauses are intended.
We wanted the author, not her agent, to speak to our group.
The author gave away not just bookmarks but discount coupons for her book.
The strikers marched on both sides of the street, not only carrying signs and ranting through megaphones, but also stopping cars to hand out literature.
The strikers decided not to march but to hand out literature.
GRAMMAR RULE #5: Use a comma between CLAUSES using phrases such as the more, the less, etc.
The more I eat fast food, the more I gain fast weight.
I find the less I eat, the better I feel.
The higher Sam climbed, the dizzier he got.
The more the merrier. (not two or more clauses)
The sooner the better. (not two or more clauses)
GRAMMAR CHALLENGE—Your Turn! Which sentences are correctly punctuated?
1. The scientist tested, not only his theory, but his competitor’s too.
2. Alice discovered the more she ate the more she grew.
3. “The younger the naughtier,” Mom always said.
4. The more I talked to Sandra, the more I liked her.
5. They pledged not only their money but their lives as well.
6. The fewer cats I encounter the better my allergies fare.
(Answers are below.)
THURSDAY: TIPS FOR SHARPENING YOUR WRITING SKILLS
Numbers 3, 4, and 5 are correct.