Comma after "or"
Thread poster: JanineN

JanineN
Local time: 17:54
French to German
+ ...
Jun 5, 2012

What is the meaning of "or" in this sentence, seen that there is a comma right after "or"?

Example:
Often times, home buyers are in a financial position to afford the monthly payments associated with home ownership, but they lack the down payment necessary to purchase a home. Or, the buyer's credit score may prevent him from obtaining the traditional bank financing required for the purchase of a home.

In those cases, ...

Thanks!

[Edited at 2012-06-05 14:35 GMT]


 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 19:54
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Two typical reasons Jun 5, 2012

When home buyers can afford the monthly payments for a home, but cannot go ahead with the purchase, there are two typical reasons for it:

1) they lack the necessary down payment; or
2) their credit score prevents them from obtaining the traditional bank financing.


 

cranium
French to English
+ ...
In other cases Jun 5, 2012

It is not very well written. As I understand it, the author is describing two different cases which make it impossible to purchase a home. (Oftentimes is also spelt wrong.)

"Oftentimes, home buyers are in a financial position to afford the monthly payments associated with home ownership, but they lack the down payment necessary to purchase a home. In other cases, the buyer's credit score may prevent him from obtaining the traditional bank financing required for the purchase of a home."


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:54
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Bad English Jun 5, 2012

wurfel wrote:

What is the meaning of "or" in this sentence, seen that there is a comma right after "or"?

Example:
Often times, home buyers are in a financial position to afford the monthly payments associated with home ownership, but they lack the down payment necessary to purchase a home. Or, the buyer's credit score may prevent him from obtaining the traditional bank financing required for the purchase of a home.

In those cases, ...

Thanks!

[Edited at 2012-06-05 14:35 GMT]


It's just bad English. It might have been better to say "Alternatively, the buyer's credit score....."

or icon_smile.gif

"the down payment necessary to purchase a home, or the buyer's credit score...."

[Edited at 2012-06-05 16:04 GMT]


 

Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
Colloquial English Jun 5, 2012

I'm going to go out on a limb here, I don't think I'd go so far as to say it's "bad" English, but it's definitely more colloquial than you would normally expect to see in writing. I see it as a literal reflection of how we speak, for example when we decide to "tack on" a point after (it sounds as if) we've concluded a statement.

As Tom states, it's simply another way to say "Alternatively".


 

Back to basics
Brazil
Local time: 13:54
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
With you Jun 5, 2012

Janet Rubin wrote:

I'm going to go out on a limb here, I don't think I'd go so far as to say it's "bad" English, but it's definitely more colloquial than you would normally expect to see in writing. I see it as a literal reflection of how we speak, for example when we decide to "tack on" a point after (it sounds as if) we've concluded a statement.

As Tom states, it's simply another way to say "Alternatively".


I am with you on this one, Janet...

What also came to mind was the French construction "Or, je n'ai rien contre..." where the "or" would be something like "but" or "now,".... Was this author perhaps "thinking in French"?


 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:54
Italian to English
Non-standard punctuation Jun 5, 2012

Janet Rubin wrote:

I'm going to go out on a limb here, I don't think I'd go so far as to say it's "bad" English,



At the very least, it's debatable punctuation. "Or" is a disjunctive conjunction and as such does not usually feature in a sentence-initial position, where an adverb or adverbial is more at home.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:54
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Missing letters Jun 5, 2012

I think they meant "oTHErWISE".
Seven letters missing! I'd replace that keyboard!icon_eek.gif


 

Vikki Pendleton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:54
Member
German to English
+ ...
Totally wrong in a written context Jun 5, 2012

What they mean is simply

"Oftentimes, home buyers are in a financial position to afford the monthly payments associated with home ownership, but they lack the down payment necessary to purchase a home, or the buyer's credit score may prevent him from obtaining the traditional bank financing required for the purchase of a home."

That still isn't great English but is how it should be punctuated. You should only have a comma after 'or' if you've got a clause in there such as 'or, in some circumstances, the buyer's credit' etc

It's possible this may vary regionally, but I'm fairly sure it's true of written requirements in both UK and US English for the sort of article quoted.


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:54
English to German
+ ...
colloquial and used like/as a conjunctive adverb Jun 5, 2012

Janet Rubin wrote:

I'm going to go out on a limb here, I don't think I'd go so far as to say it's "bad" English, but it's definitely more colloquial than you would normally expect to see in writing. I see it as a literal reflection of how we speak, for example when we decide to "tack on" a point after (it sounds as if) we've concluded a statement.

As Tom states, it's simply another way to say "Alternatively".



"Or" followed by reason 2 contrasts the "often times" found reason 1 in sentence 1 (that prevents people from buying a home). And,"or" is more of a sentence adverb or conjunctive adverb here, not a simple conjunction (IMO), similar to: "Moreover, the buyer's credit ...

The sentence is certainly colloquial. At least the writer separated the two sentences instead of trying to express everything in one long sentence - then the sentence would have been worse.
According to a wikipedia page I found, one-syllable conjunctions used as conjunctive adverbs are not followed by a comma, but I don't see why not, they are emphatic statements at the beginning of the sentence (see my use of And, above). This use also lets both sentences stand more independently of each other (IMO).

Now in German, we hardly ever put a comma after a sentence adverb (although we can do it for emphasis), and for a GNS, the comma might look strange in English, especially after a conjunction like "or". But that's because of how it's used in German.
On the other hand, when I teach German to NES, they are, at least at first, always tempted to put a comma after sentence averbs. But I digress.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjunctive_adverb

B



[Edited at 2012-06-05 23:13 GMT]


 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 19:54
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
I'm surprised that... Jun 5, 2012

...no one has pointed out the ambiguity of this 'or.' Whether in one sentence or two, it may link to either of two clauses, and the author's meaning hinges on that.

I would love to find out if the interpretation I gave above is correct or not.


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:54
English to German
+ ...
why is there a comma after "or" was the question Jun 5, 2012

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:

...no one has pointed out the ambiguity of this 'or.' Whether in one sentence or two, it may link to either of two clauses, and the author's meaning hinges on that.

I would love to find out if the interpretation I gave above is correct or not.


Hi Mikhail,

there are two reasons given, as you say, for not being able to purchase a home (easily), reason # 1 is in the first sentence, and it is the case often (often times).
And it is either that or also, reason # 2 in sentence 2.
I don't see anything ambiguous about it. The last part of sentence 2 shows that is also a reason for not being able to buy a home.

The question was really why is there a comma after "or".
And I tried to answer that in my post.

B



[Edited at 2012-06-06 16:38 GMT]


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 00:54
Chinese to English
Don't be so quick to say "wrong" Jun 6, 2012

Janet Rubin wrote:

I'm going to go out on a limb here, I don't think I'd go so far as to say it's "bad" English, but it's definitely more colloquial than you would normally expect to see in writing. I see it as a literal reflection of how we speak, for example when we decide to "tack on" a point after (it sounds as if) we've concluded a statement.


Janet is exactly right here. Comma usage is not always grammatically defined in English; sometimes the use of commas is just to reflect pauses in speech. Here, I think it's a very effective way of showing that in speech, there would be a lot of stress on that "or".

I do agree that this is not conventional formal usage. However, not every text is written in formal. Thank God!


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree Jun 6, 2012

Janet Rubin wrote:

I'm going to go out on a limb here, I don't think I'd go so far as to say it's "bad" English, but it's definitely more colloquial than you would normally expect to see in writing. I see it as a literal reflection of how we speak, for example when we decide to "tack on" a point after (it sounds as if) we've concluded a statement.

As Tom states, it's simply another way to say "Alternatively".


Not necessarily "bad", just "informal. The author is using it as a pause, as used in spoken speech for emphasis.

A neat rendering of the author's "Or,..." might be: "In some cases, ..."

However, "Often times" sounds very folksy and colloquial, and I usually see it written as one word anyway.

https://www.google.es/search?q="let%20the%20supplier%20go"&rls=com.microsoft:es&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1#hl=es&rls=com.microsoft:es&sclient=psy-ab&q=oftentimes%20grammar&oq="oftenntiems"&aq=2L&aqi=g-sL1g-L3&aql=&gs_l=serp.1.2.0i10i19j0i19l3.0.0.1.1078.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0..0.0...0.0.1JM3SA-a1ns&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=e1cd7aa301e5b50d&biw=1366&bih=596

[Edited at 2012-06-06 10:27 GMT]


 


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