Commas and punctuation. - Page 2


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Thread: Commas and punctuation.

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by epimetheus View Post
    Probably why my sense of grammar is bad, the ridiculous interpretation doesn't occur to me even for an instant..
    If you were the only reader of my work instead of some of the smart-alecks, jokers, dreamers, and know-it-alls who actually do, I wouldn't worry about it.

  2. #12
    I honestly don't know that much about grammar or punctuation. I work instinctively and then read it as written out loud to see if it sounds right. That's why, when I critique, you seldom see words associated with grammar.
    Just An Ordinary Bloke, Doing Ordinary Things, In An Extraordinary World.

  3. #13
    I would make this sentence into two sentences. I like that grammar book, but a comma doesn’t fix the source of confusion.

    “The driver managed to escape from the vehicle before it sank. He swam to the river-bank.

    “And” doesn’t add any extra flow in the original. What was nice is that you saw the action happening in chronological order. The problem with it is that the reader needs to understand immediately what or who is doing the swimming, because the subject switched on us mid-sentence. Structure over commas any day! Agreed, Olly!
    Last edited by Llyralen; January 19th, 2021 at 05:37 PM.

  4. #14
    The driver managed to escape and swim to the bank before the vehicle sank

    The driver managed to escape from the vehicle before it sank. He swam to the river-bank.

    You claim credit for losing 'And', but add 'From', 'It', and 'He', you are just complicating things. And i'm pretty sure it was a pond, not a river

    How about,
    The driver escaped the sinking vehicle and swam to the bank.
    Even more concise.
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  5. #15
    I often see where a change in syntax would eliminate such a conundrum. I think the spoken phrase—dialog—would use the 'and' but in the narrative I would leave it out. A comma is not always where the break is, so I use an ellipsis for a pause.

  6. #16
    I also am trying to improve my punctuation. As a veteran of non-fiction technical writing, I find punctuation in fiction far more challenging. For example, dialogue is a whole new ball of wax! However, I try to write the sentence with the most natural flow. I think your technique of grouping things together that go together is a good one, however, I also find that mixing up the way sentences are structured can add a dimension to your writing. So for example for this sentence, could you also say:

    “The driver managed to escape from the vehicle before it sank, and then he swam to the river-bank.”

    Sometimes in the waves of change we find our new direction...
    - unknown

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    “The driver managed to escape from the vehicle before it sank, and then he swam to the river-bank.”
    Since it appears we're going to rewrite this sentence ad nauseum, I'll take my crack. I'd write:
    "The driver escaped the vehicle before it submerged, then swam to the river bank."

    (I originally had a typo above ... "swam" as "swan". That presents an entirely different picture, with the swimmer elevating an arm into the air as he wiggles his ass as a means of propulsion).

    A friend of mine, who I met during the Amazon Scout program, writes wonderful, rich, funny fantasy about witches and warlocks and ghosts ... and an occasional vampire or demon. She's outside my preferred genres, but I can't get enough of her. The poor lady can't place a comma. They get shoved along with editors, but I edited one of her novels from scratch and I'm pretty sure I repositioned every comma in the book. LOL (Not to mention the ones I added or eliminated).

    In the sentence above, I'd bet serious money her comma would be after "vehicle", with none after "submerged".

    I got in contact with her because I was outraged her submitted novel wasn't selected by the program. It was wonderful. So I wrote her and expressed how ticked off I was at their blind spot. That led to correspondence which has lasted for years now.

  8. #18
    If she added commas after vehicle and submerged , making it a subordinatr phrase, that would make sense.

    "The driver escaped the vehicle, before it submerged, then swam to the river bank."

    Especially as escaping from a submerged vehicle is difficult due to the pressure differential, you have to wait until it fills with water before you can open the door. Mind, the way we are prevaricating they probably drowned
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  9. #19
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    The driver managed to escape from the vehicle before it sank and swam to the river-bank LADY TRUSS

    The driver managed to escape, and swim to the bank, before the vehicle sank. MR BUCKLE

    ...

    While I enjoy your argument I do feel the Truss version possesses the literary elegance which your version seems to lack. Probably she was a Roedean girl? Comma, or no comma, reading her story I see a woman struggling to escape the vehicle before it plunges to watery depths. Your version conveys the same information but perhaps impacts upon a different section of the brain, and is written in black & white.

    I see her version upon the pages of some rousing paperback, yours upon an inside spread of the Hastings Mercury. I see your embittered hack, his fist punched into palm. I feel his rage, his struggle with words croissant and chorizo.




  10. #20
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    The driver screamed, the undercarriage hurtled over embankment, the vehicle sank. A great desperation, as water flooded her compartment, she struggled against the seat-belt's throttle. A baby sparrow she reached for breath, the waters climbing higher, higher, higher around her beautiful, possibly breasts. One final tug she freed herself and swam to the river-bank

    d1 WIP

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