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OET Grammar Help: Using Commas

Rejitha got in touch with us via our YouTube #shorts and asked us for help with using commas.

Thanks for your OET question, Rejitha!

Commas are used in sentences when we breathe. So every time you pause naturally to catch your breath, you should put a comma in, or if it's a long breath, a full stop!

We also use them in non-defining clauses.

That means, we use them to give extra information to the reader about a noun.

For example. we can say:

The patient, who was living in your care home prior to the accident, will be discharged back into your care tomorrow.

If we take out the information between the commas, the sentence will still read fine.

The patient will be discharged back into your care.

In terms of grammar, we don't need to know where the patient was living before for the sentence to make sense.

HOWEVER, in terms of content as part of the OET criteria, it's important for the reader to know which patient we are talking about. Is it a new patient who will be discharged into the reader's care? No, it's a patient who was already in their care, spent some time in hospital, and is now returning to their care.

So this isn't really extra information, but essential information.

And therefore, it makes more sense NOT to use commas but to restructure the sentence to be more efficient to read (and for you to write - don't forget, you want the main content for your OET letter to be around 180 - 200 words).

In this case, because we should tell the reader that they already know the patient, it would be clearer and more efficient not to use commas, and instead say:

Your care home patient will be discharged back into your care following hospitalisation for a traffic accdient.


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