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“It crashed in … Australia killing one cow.”

I saw this yesterday on a History Channel program about Skylab.

Problem:
A comma is missing.

Explanation:
The television program was about Skylab.

As the program went to a commercial break, a multi-sentence blurb appeared on the screen, and the narrator read the blurb about Skylab.

One of the sentences was “It crashed in a remote area of Western Australia killing one cow.”

The narrator was smart enough to pause after he said “Australia”; otherwise, the sentence would have sounded odd.

Commas tell readers where to put pauses when speaking a sentence.

“It crashed in a remote area of Western Australia” is a complete sentence on its own, and “killing one cow” is an aside that adds information, so “Australia” should be immediately followed by a comma.

Look at these two sentences:

  1. Jim hit the man running from the police.
  2. Jim hit the man, running from the police.

Sentence #1 means that Jim hit the man who was running from the police. In contrast, sentence #2 means that Jim hit the man while Jim was running from the police. See what a difference a comma makes?

Solution:
“It crashed in … Australia, killing one cow.”

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