Okay PaG or bad?


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Thread: Okay PaG or bad?

  1. #1

    Okay PaG or bad?

    His huge companion dropped his blankets and flung himself down and drank from the surface of the green pool; drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse.
    His huge companion dropped his blankets, flung himself down, and drank from the surface of the green pool -- drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse.
    I'm trying to write a book on punctuation and grammar, and I'm trying to say what's good and bad. But I want more than just my own opinion, so I'm asking.

    I have no problems with doing a list with ands between every word and no commas, when it seems to serve some purpose. I liked:

    The monitor lady smiled very nicely and tousled his hair and said, "...
    But I don't see the purpose in the first sentence. Meanwhile, a semicolon is supposed to separate two independent clauses, not two verbs. I don't see the purpose.

    Am I missing something? Another. He's talking about advice from his father. Why are the commas missing from this sentence?

    He didn't say any more but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that.
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  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    Meanwhile, a semicolon is supposed to separate two independent clauses, not two verbs. I don't see the purpose.
    A comma is mainly used to separate independent clauses. Jeff went to the shop, but Joe went for a swim.
    But the comma can be dropped between two independent clauses if one is seen to cause the other: He yelled and she jumped.

    A comma is usually used in a list structure with three or more items: he loved, laughed, then jumped out the window, but not (usually) with two: he loved and laughed. Style variation can see: He loved... laughed. He loved, laughed.

    Readers are used to processing information as a list, they do so in their daily lives, so the list structure is good for clarity, reader anticipation, and general story flow. The He loved and laughed and then jumped out of the window isn't as common with a reader, so it can change reader flow for the good, or the bad if the structures carries too much information or moves too quickly. With: "The monitor lady smiled very nicely and tousled his hair and said" there's nothing grammatically wrong with this, the pace just moves quickly. It could be what the writer is after: that quick run of action where little pause is given, as with: The monitor lady smiled very nicely, tousled his hair, and said

    With: "He didn't say any more but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that." the commas shouldn't be missing:

    He didn't say any more, but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    I'm trying to write a book on punctuation and grammar, and I'm trying to say what's good and bad. But I want more than just my own opinion, so I'm asking.
    Why are you trying to write a book on punctuation and grammar?

    With all of the books and websites about conventional or modern or correct or incorrect or English or American spelling and grammar, what are you aiming for by adding another? What are you looking to bring to the table that is new, if it is not your own opinion?
    "I don't know ... I'm making it up as I go ..." - Dr I Jones

    Nature abhors perfection - cats abhor a vacuum!

    "Faith can move mountains - she's a big girl!" (unknown/graffiti)

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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Cran View Post
    Why are you trying to write a book on punctuation and grammar?

    With all of the books and websites about conventional or modern or correct or incorrect or English or American spelling and grammar, what are you aiming for by adding another? What are you looking to bring to the table that is new, if it is not your own opinion?
    I write on nontraditional topics (such as fragments) and take a more functional approach.

    Yeah, my opinion is a problem. I try to be logical and give examples, but that still leaves me with some blank spots. A big one is connecting clauses -- I have a lot of opinions on that, but it doesn't mean much if they are just my opinions.

    In particular, I don't see any purpose to the incorrect use of the semicolon. But writers do it. So I want to check that I am not missing something.
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
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  5. #5
    I just remembered where I'd seen this quote from:

    He didn't say any more but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that.
    The Great Gatsby. (Fitzgerald, Scott F) Were the commas removed in the edition you have, Emma?
    Running on Id, no Ego or Super-ego at the helm

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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    I write on nontraditional topics (such as fragments) and take a more functional approach.

    Yeah, my opinion is a problem. I try to be logical and give examples, but that still leaves me with some blank spots. A big one is connecting clauses -- I have a lot of opinions on that, but it doesn't mean much if they are just my opinions.

    In particular, I don't see any purpose to the incorrect use of the semicolon. But writers do it. So I want to check that I am not missing something.
    OK. What is the incorrect use of the semi-colon?

    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    His huge companion dropped his blankets and flung himself down and drank from the surface of the green pool; drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse.
    His huge companion dropped his blankets, flung himself down, and drank from the surface of the green pool -- drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse.
    But I don't see the purpose in the first sentence.
    Neither do I; it's a long-winded way to say he drank like a horse. (<<See what I did there? I joined two independent statements with a semi-colon)

    In the first example, I would simply remove the second unnecessary drank and that would make the semi-colon unnecessary.
    A. His huge companion dropped his blankets and flung himself down and drank from the surface of the green pool with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse.
    In the second example, the second comma is superfluous.


    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    Meanwhile, a semicolon is supposed to separate two independent clauses, not two verbs. I don't see the purpose.

    Am I missing something?
    A semi-colon doesn't separate independent clauses; it connects them without a conjunction - a joining word. It doesn't matter if there is a verb in one or both clauses, statements, or fragments.



    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    Another.

    He didn't say any more but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that.
    He's talking about advice from his father. Why are the commas missing from this sentence?
    Because they are not necessary. Yes, you could add a comma, or you could replace a conjunction with a semi-colon, or you could drop either or both conjunctions and make each into independent sentences. Which way it goes is a style choice.
    "I don't know ... I'm making it up as I go ..." - Dr I Jones

    Nature abhors perfection - cats abhor a vacuum!

    "Faith can move mountains - she's a big girl!" (unknown/graffiti)

    If I act like I own the place, it's because I did.





  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Cran View Post
    In the second example, the second comma is superfluous.
    It's a quote from Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.

    Emma, it might be a good idea just to cite the sources if you're asking writers to crit the usage of other published writers.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Aquilo View Post
    Originally Posted by Cran
    In the second example, the second comma is superfluous.
    It's a quote from Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.

    Emma, it might be a good idea just to cite the sources if you're asking writers to crit the usage of other published writers.
    So, you're saying this version with the superfluous comma is by Steinbeck -
    His huge companion dropped his blankets, flung himself down, and drank from the surface of the green pool -- drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse.
    - and this correct, if wordy, version with the semi-colon is a variant by someone else?
    His huge companion dropped his blankets and flung himself down and drank from the surface of the green pool; drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse.
    "I don't know ... I'm making it up as I go ..." - Dr I Jones

    Nature abhors perfection - cats abhor a vacuum!

    "Faith can move mountains - she's a big girl!" (unknown/graffiti)

    If I act like I own the place, it's because I did.





  9. #9
    This one is Steinbeck's (6th para down) : A.
    His huge companion dropped his blankets and flung himself down and drank from the surface of the green pool; drank with long gulps, snorting into the water like a horse. The small man stepped nervously beside him.
    With The Great Gatsby quote (Fitzgerald, Scott F) : "He didn't say any more but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that." the comma is there:

    He didn't say any more but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that.
    Just unclear without the sources given / the nice courtesy of letting someone now beforehand that they're taking a stylistic approach to published work.

    Edit: ah, unless WF has somewhere of putting the citation and I can't see them... *Shrugs hopelessly* every forum is different.
    Last edited by Aquilo; December 9th, 2015 at 03:48 PM.
    Running on Id, no Ego or Super-ego at the helm

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  10. #10
    To answer one question (from Wikipedia): A semicolon can be used between two closely related independent clauses, provided they are not already joined by a coordinating conjunction. Semicolons can also be used in place of commas to separate items in a list, particularly when the elements of that list contain commas.

    There are more variations in this rule than there are variations in that sentence by Fitzgerald, but that is what I was working with. So these are wrong, according to the rules. By they just seem wrong to me -- I can't see any reason to break the rule, and the semicolon left me expecting something that didn't come.

    I've heard it said that Daisy's murmur was only to make people lean toward her; an irrelevant criticism that made it no less charming.

    Chatham lived with her aunt, because her mother was a drug addict and in jail; and she had never met her father.

    You know how it is there early in the morning in Havana with the bums still asleep against the walls of the buildings; before even the ice wagons come by with ice for the bars?

    There's another page about my mother's hair color (red) and eye color(green); about whether she had any scars or deformities or tattoos or artificial limbs that could be used to identify her (no).
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

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