punctuation

loviii

Senior Member
russian
Greetings!

merriam-webster.com (an example that is seen in pressing "See More" button):
… the National Weather Service … advised all citizens in New Orleans's water-filled neighborhoods "to take the necessary tools for survival." The Weather Service elaborated: "Those going into attics should try to take an axe or hatchet with them so they can cut their way onto the roof to avoid drowning should rising flood waters continue to rise into the attic."

Do you consider not using any punctuation before "should" as a mistake? If not, then why?

Thanks!
 
  • Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    Do you consider not using any punctuation before "should" as a mistake?

    There are two shoulds in that quote. Are you asking about the underlined one or was the underlining in the orginal?

    If not, then why?
    If you think it's a mistake, I think you should say why you think it's a mistake.

    And what specific punctuation are you thinking of?

    And when you say "before" do you mean immediately before?

    In my opinion, to insert a comma [...to avoid drowning, should rising flood waters continue to rise into the attic" would be wrong in the context given.

    People in the roof space (loft) would only be at risk of drowning if the flood water continued to rise to that level.
     
    Last edited:

    loviii

    Senior Member
    russian

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    The risk of drowning is only when the flood waters continue to rise but a comma separates the “should” clause from the word “drowning” that it refers to.

    If the flood waters keep rising
    1) people should take an axe to the attic
    or
    2) people risk drowning.
    Using a comma leads to the consequence 1) while no comma leads to 2) - the intended meaning.
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top