Whether to put a comma before "or"?

Russian language as beautiful as it is difficult.And for foreigners, so often and for those who speak on it since early childhood.The greatest difficulties arise with the stylistic combination of words, spelling and, of course, punctuation.Many of the rules are complicated by the fact that they have a lot of nuances and exceptions.For example, the comma before the conjunction "or".A detailed analysis of this rule will be devoted to this article.

What are unions in the Russian language

This utility performs the part of speech syntactic function, providing a link words in a sentence.Asyndetic combinations are also possible, however, it does not convey the sense of many important elements.

classification of parts of speech is very extensive.They are simple and complex, single and double, paired and unpaired, and so on. D. By its function in the proposal are divided into two groups - coordinative and subordinate.And on the way, they may be separated by more than 15 species, including izjasnitelnyh, manner, purpose, connection, adversative, separation, and many others.The last of these species will be discussed in this article.And focus in detail on one of the examples of dividing unions, as well as its rules of punctuation design.

of alliances

For the purposes of this word conveys separation or opposition.Use of such an alliance, when it describes the situation excludes the other.

example, contrasts the two object or phenomenon:

She buys milk or yogurt.

can be separated or opposed to signs of any objects:

Either he brave or crazy.

often become the object of opposition actions:

Open the door or we break down the it!

You probably have noticed that some of the above examples, before the word "or" a comma, but not in others.What does this affect?First of all, the features of the proposal.

single union with homogeneous members

in simple sentences often develops a situation where some of its members respond to the same question, and are the same word.It may be two (or more) predicates determine additions circumstances.Such members are called homogeneous proposals.

They may be separated by commas:

There was a quiet, gentle, melodic sound.

Can a colon before them:

On the table stood tableware: cups, plates, kettle.

also often used the word "and", "and", "but".In some cases, homogeneous members connected disjunctive.The point is that the offer is to divide something similar (items characteristics).

look at examples of how to "or" comma in such cases, and placed it at all.

In good weather, they used to go for a picnic or a stroll around the neighborhood on foot.

He was going to go to Paris or London.

application form can be printed on a computer or hand-written.

As we can see, the alliance with the separating function connects various kinds of homogeneous parts of the sentence.Whether to put a comma before the "or" in such cases?No, do not put.

single union in a complex sentence

Grammatical basis - subject and predicate - may be present not only in a single amount.If the proposal are two (or more) of these bases, it is called complex.Connects the two parts may asyndetic way, and with the help of various unions, including separation.Do I need a comma before "or" in a complex sentence?Consider some examples.

Tomorrow we will go to Petrov, or they visit us.

We must act now or it will be too late.

the examples clearly shows that the comma before "or" connects the parts of a complex sentence (two grammatical foundations, united semantic unity).Between these parts is always necessary that a punctuation mark.

Double Union ("either ... or»)

Some suggestions expressed heightened opposition or separation of certain objects, actions, qualities.This feature brings a double disjunctive.Just like in the saying:

either sink or swim.

In this case, before "or" comma, used as a dual union.One can cite the example of a simple sentence having homogeneous terms:

will either rain or hail.

the same way as the comma before "or" necessary if we face a complex sentence:

Either you calm down, or I'm gone.

In the latter case it is necessary to put the punctuation mark for two reasons:

  • type of offers (a complex, two grammatical basics);
  • double disjunctive.

So whether you need a comma before "or" if the alliance double?Yes always.In this rule does not affect the accompanying grammatical circumstances.

When you do not put a comma

We have examined several difficult cases.But there is a logical question: whether to put a comma before "or" always?

As we have already realized in a simple sentence that union does not require separating punctuation.For example:

food might be tasty or tasteless.

What else have similar cases?

For example, in a complex sentence, when there is a common element that unites all the parts.

Look at the clouds: soon will go rain or hail.

Separation is also not required if the constituent elements of a complex sentence are uncertain, personal or impersonal sentences having the same form of the predicate.For example:

sleepy or just got cold.

Dusk or dawn - it was hard to make out what time of day.

Sometimes there are cases when the unifying factor intonation.For example, the question:

It would be better to come back tomorrow or the day after tomorrow to postpone?

In the above cases, there is a common element that unites the sentence.Under these conditions, does not need a comma before the "or."

Now consider the other dividing unions.Many of them mean the same thing as the official part of the speech, which became the subject of this article.

A similar value of the conjunction "or»

This part of the speech could replace the word "or", as expresses the same meaning: an alternative in the form of two (usually opposite) phenomena, properties or objects.For example:

you tea or coffee?

not like being too hot or too cold.

They can wait for you or to themselves.

She spends the summer in the city or in the country.

In this Union there are cases of separation or isolation.This will be discussed more below.

When a comma

Separation of this alliance is similar to the rules which put a comma before the word "or."These cases are:

  • double union "either - or";
  • complex sentence;
  • double name from a work of art.

For each of these situations, you can give an example:

Or is he stupid or pretending (double alliance).

We have to get out early, or the bus will leave without us (complex sentence).

«The Golden Key, or Adventures of Pinocchio» (name of product).

When you do not put a comma

There are also rules governing the formulation of a punctuation mark in the case of the same within the meaning of Union.Do not you want to isolate "or" in the following situations:

  • simple sentence in which a single uniform Union joined members;
  • complex sentence with the presence of the common element to all the component parts (of the sentence, a group of words, intonation).

example offers that correspond to the first case:

All have gone out into the street and went to sleep.

second situation may be illustrated by the following examples:

Let ispechёm something for tea: cake, muffins or cookies.

It was quiet and we just stopped noticing the noise?

As we can see, the dividing unions like not only express semantic value, but also by their grammatical functions and interaction with the rules of punctuation.

Other disjunctive

Besides performance of the speech and its dual version, which became the theme of this article, there are a number of such unions, carrying the same meaning.Here they are:

  • or;
  • otherwise;
  • and then;
  • whether - whether;
  • not - not that;
  • something - something;
  • Lee - Lee;
  • or - or.

Example sentences with these parts of speech demonstrate that they are quite similar in meaning to each other.Compare:

she cooked fish or chicken.

Leave on good terms, or you will be expelled.

Hush, and the child wakes up.

Either no one is home, or do not want to open the door.

Outside, not rain, not snow.

prevents him one thing after another.

Do you want this, you do not want to - it does not matter.

He's either very brave or crazy.

We see that the rules of placement of commas in dividing unions are also very similar.


comma before "or" "or" and the other partition unions - it is a difficult question.Not in all cases, you can determine if the need is the punctuation mark or not.

If it is a simple or complex sentence without any accompanying symptoms, then the solution is more or less clear.

When homogeneous single union member "or" is not isolated.The exception - when a double alliance.

in a complex sentence to a comma separating union is usually required.But some factors (overall tone that combines a word or group of words vaguely impersonal and personal types of sentences) may make exceptions to this rule.

For this reason, you should carefully review the proposal and to check the appropriateness of punctuation.In cases of dispute, it is useful to consult the guide to punctuation.The classic version thereof wrote Professor D. E. Rosenthal.