Evy,

Welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

The simple answer to your question is yes.  If you say the sentence out loud, you should be able to hear the pause that the comma implies.  This is not a perfect test of whether a comma is needed, but it is often a good indicator.

DocV

Doc V posted:

If you say the sentence out loud, you should be able to hear the pause that the comma implies.  This is not a perfect test of whether a comma is needed, but it is often a good indicator.

I agree. I'd say that it is the inversion following "nor" that causes a break between both coordinate clauses. A comma is required between a clause in normal order and an inverted one. Here are some more examples taken from the Longman Dictionary:

- I don’t expect children to be rude, nor do I expect to be disobeyed.
- They couldn’t understand it at the time, and nor could we.
- Worrall was not at the meeting, nor was he at work yesterday.

The same happens if the second clause is inserted in the middle:

- I am notnor have I ever been, a Communist.

No, it's a coordinate (not subordinate) clause.

- The police could not find the source of the fire +  The fire chief could not find the source of the fire = The police could not find the source of the fire, nor could the fire chief (find the source of the fire).

Evy,

A lot depends on punctuation here, as well as the use of conjunctions.

"Could the fire chief" can be a stand-alone sentence if it is stated as a question:

6: The police could not find the source of the fire.  Could the fire chief?

It is also possible to write the second clause as a stand-alone sentence if it immediately follows the first clause and is introduced by an appropriate conjunction:

7: The police could not find the source of the fire.  Neither could the fire chief.
8: The police could not find the source of the fire.  Nor could the fire chief.

These can both be rewritten as single complex sentences:

7a: The police could not find the source of the fire, and neither could the fire chief.
8a (=1): The police could not find the source of the fire, nor could the fire chief.

I stand with Gustavo on his observation of the necessity of a comma when subject-verb inversion occurs in the second clause.

I hope you find this helpful.

DocV

Doc V posted:

A lot depends on punctuation here, as well as the use of conjunctions.

I agree. This also refutes Evy's misconception that the absence of a comma characterizes dependent (or subordinate) clauses, while its presence is only typical of independent (or coordinate) clauses.

Evy posted:

I thought that I shouldn't use a comma since "could the fire chief" is a dependent clause, and comma should be used only to connect two independent clauses.

- The police, who searched the place thoroughly, could not find the source of the fire. -> The clause in bold is dependent and nevertheless set off by commas.

Despite/After searching the place thoroughly, the police could not find the source of the fire. -> Same as above.

- The police and the fire brigade worked together. The police kept onlookers away and the firefighters were finally able to find the source of the fire. -> Here we have a compound sentence formed by two independent clauses, without any comma.

Thank you, Gustavo, for your clarification.  I want to correct myself in that what I called complex sentences are more accurately compound sentences, in that they consist of independent clauses joined by coordinating conjunctions.

DocV

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×