Comma splicing, run on sentences, and me - Page 2


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Thread: Comma splicing, run on sentences, and me

  1. #11
    In some forms of writing -- fiction obviously but also many sorts of personable non-fiction -- a blend of personal grammatical style and clarity in the usage is more important than formal correctness. For one, it's an element of voice, which too great attendance to the minutia of rules may stifle. In some formal writing -- legal, academic, sometimes journalistic -- there is a more prescribed approach which one transgresses at considerable peril. In general however, I would say that if one finds one's reading often impeded by unquenchable grammatical analysis, one might perhaps take a moment to re-order proprieties, and to some extent, I'd say this applies to the authorial role as well.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. Steven Wright

  2. #12
    I once checked for comma splices. The first three books I picked up had them on the first or second page. Hemingway's third sentence: "Thedancing kept up, the drinking kept up, the noise went on." I stopped checking.

    I am guessing that The Fault in Our Stars does not have any comma splices. So it's possible. If someone knows of another book without comma splices, I would be interested to know. By the way, this is technically a comma splice: "He went to the store, then he returned home." (Then is not in the list of coordinating conjunctions.)

    It has a different feel. I think it should be part of your tool-box, one of the ways you connect two clauses. I am guessing it gets attention only because it has a flashy name. For example, putting a comma between two verbs is more common but no one argues about its value.
    Looking for people to beta a chapter or more of my book Modern Punctuation and Grammar: Tools for Better Writing. Go Hidden Content
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  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Ell337 View Post
    The number of times and places a run on sentence can be used effectively are far and few; the number of places it is actually used to good effect by a skillful author ... are there any?
    Pynchon, Barth, Eggers, Danielewski, Gaddis, Faulkner, almost every Victorian novel at some point, Borges, Foster Wallace and Calvino say hi.

  4. #14
    a run on sentence is incorrect, a long sentence is not. There is a difference.

  5. #15
    Wɾʇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ppsage View Post
    In some forms of writing -- fiction obviously but also many sorts of personable non-fiction -- a blend of personal grammatical style and clarity in the usage is more important than formal correctness. For one, it's an element of voice, which too great attendance to the minutia of rules may stifle. In some formal writing -- legal, academic, sometimes journalistic -- there is a more prescribed approach which one transgresses at considerable peril. In general however, I would say that if one finds one's reading often impeded by unquenchable grammatical analysis, one might perhaps take a moment to re-order proprieties, and to some extent, I'd say this applies to the authorial role as well.
    Agreed about the voice - when in character, writers can, and should be able to, get away with more grammar abuse. But that begs the question of whether we want to stay relentlessly in character at all times. Sometimes writing benefits, it seems to me, from coming up for air, or from distancing ourselves for a sec, even if it's just to look around. Then we can get back into voice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ell337 View Post
    The number of times and places a run on sentence can be used effectively are far and few; the number of places it is actually used to good effect by a skillful author ... are there any?
    I think the below example from Emma is a good one, because it illustrates, to me, how comma splicing can work when applied as part of voice. Issues arise, in my mind, when it is applied as part of straight narration. The effect then seems to be a sort of slapdash tonethat sounds alot like othes very like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    I once checked for comma splices. The first three books I picked up had them on the first or second page. Hemingway's third sentence: "Thedancing kept up, the drinking kept up, the noise went on." I stopped checking.

    I am guessing that The Fault in Our Stars does not have any comma splices. So it's possible. If someone knows of another book without comma splices, I would be interested to know. By the way, this is technically a comma splice: "He went to the store, then he returned home." (Then is not in the list of coordinating conjunctions.)

    It has a different feel. I think it should be part of your tool-box, one of the ways you connect two clauses. I am guessing it gets attention only because it has a flashy name. For example, putting a comma between two verbs is more common but no one argues about its value.
    For some reason, using "then" seems ok. And Hemingway's example is a good one because it suggests the type of narrator. But think about it - would you use it in more 3rd person omniscient bits of writing, where you are not necessarily in characters voice but, for example, doing 2 sentences of scene setting, and not necessarily in a characters' head at that minute. The key seems to be in identifying the difference, and knowing when you are in a character and when you are not. There seems to be a prevailing sentiment that because comma splices depict Brett Ashley very powerfully in this instance, they are good anywhere. I don't agree with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ell337 View Post
    a run on sentence is incorrect, a long sentence is not. There is a difference.
    I know that - I was agreeing with you!


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    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"

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    Is this fire, or is this mask?
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  6. #16
    Whenever these discussions come up, because this is just a variation of 'great author broke X rule, so why can't I', the answer always is - when you have put in the hours and gained the skills to be rated up there with the greats (by someone other than your nearest and dearest) then you may break as many rules as you wish. Until then, the rules are there to stop you making horrible mistakes.

    (you plural not singular because English is entirely and sadly lacking in a third person plural form)

  7. #17
    Wɾʇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ell337 View Post

    (you plural not singular because English is entirely and sadly lacking in a third person plural form)
    Pah! Only for those latter-day pretenders who won't use thee and thou. The very bastard letter Y is an affront.

    And now it sounds like I am talking about underpants.


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous

    *

    C'mon everybody, don't need this crap.
    - Wham!





  8. #18
    Please don't put the idea of thee and thou out into the universe, if I read one more badly written poem abusing those words ...

  9. #19
    Wɾʇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ell337 View Post
    Please don't put the idea of thee and thou out into the universe, if I read one more badly written poem abusing those words ...
    You're talking to a guy who thought Latin altogether too gauche for his wedding invites. I wanted runes, dammit, runes!


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous

    *

    C'mon everybody, don't need this crap.
    - Wham!





  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    You're talking to a guy who thought Latin altogether too gauche for his wedding invites. I wanted runes, dammit, runes!
    Ogham! Runes are so passe!

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