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Comma question (1 Viewer)

WordTrance

Senior Member
"I considered that I should run down the field and then cut right and that I should just cut left immediately."

In a sentence such as the one above, do I use a comma after the word 'right'? I know you are supposed to use a comma and a conjunction to connect two independent clauses, but in the sentence above I feel like "that I should run down the field and then cut right" and "that I should just cut left immediately" are two grammatically the same elements and possibly not two independent clauses even though they both have subjects. I mean, I know not to use a comma in a sentence such as: "Tom ate a sandwich and an apple." So, basically does the sentence at the very top act like this sentence, or do I need a comma?

I apologize if that's a little confusing, but thank you for any help you can provide. I know this is more of a minor issue, but I always was wondering about it.
 

Sam

General
Patron
I would avoid the need for asking the question by re-writing that sentence entirely. At the moment, it's confusing -- and this is a fellow writer who's saying that. If the sentence confuses me, what will it be like for a reader? For that reason, I would reword it.

Technically, and to answer your question, a comma is needed.
 

shinyford

Senior Member
Personally, I'd use a comma there, just as I'd pause at that point when speaking the line. Commas almost always (at least in my head) fall where speech would pause for a beat.

Also: "Tom ate a sandwich and an apple" is fine, if what you want to do is catalogue what he's eaten. But I think a comma would be okay: "Tom ate a sandwich, and an apple." Again, it shows where a beat could fall during speech - and a beat at that point is fine, if the statement is specifically to emphasize the specific two things he's eaten. (Too many specifics in that sentence, but you know what I mean [I hope]).

Cheers

Nic
 

Bloggsworth

WF Veterans
Even with a comma it wouldn't make sense, are you cutting right or left? As written it appears that both are being attempted at the same time...
 

David Gordon Burke

WF Veterans
Even with a comma it wouldn't make sense, are you cutting right or left? As written it appears that both are being attempted at the same time...

I agree. The comma thing, used when stacking a bunch of stuff like an apple, an orange and a banana (dumb example but...) isn't relative. If they are two different options, then it should be "OR" and then they aren't being stacked in a list.
(note: some grammar books state it should be -an apple, an orange, and a banana. I dislike and don't do it this way .... call me old fashioned .... both are considered correct but..... if you don't need it, leave it out I say.)

My next issue is "I considered that....." When we consider that, we consider things that are fact, that are determined - we can consider our options (and then go on to state them as such) but......this sentence doesn't work for me. Maybe with an "if" but ????? Nah.

If it's a football story I don't want the guy considering anything anyway .... I want him to blast into action on pure adrenaline. (no idea what you are writing about but wishy washy verbs like wonder, seem, consider, think don't fit the action thing. My characters are never heros, they are regular folk so if I'm out of line here, no offense meant. I just don't like consider and much less consider that.

David Gordon Burke
 

WordTrance

Senior Member
Actually, just a bad example on my part. I was trying to think of this structure I come across which I can't seem to understand. Let me try again: "I watched the kids play catch and the dogs run after the ball." See to me, I interpret "the kids play catch" and "the dogs run after the ball" as the same parts of a sentence as words such as "apple" and "orange" in this example: "I ate an apple and an orange." So, I'm thinking I don't need a comma. But something such as: "I watched the kids play catch, and the dogs run after the ball" is two separate clauses, so this implies that although I watch the kids play, I don't necessarily "watch" the dogs run after the ball. Lol, I don't know. I find it difficult to describe grammatical problems when I'm not overly familiar with the terminology. Does this help you understand my issue? Either way, I appreciate all the help that's come so far. Of course, David, no offense taken--that's a great, well-thought out, nice response. Thanks!
 

ppsage

WF Veterans
"I watched the kids play catch and the dogs run after the ball."
Could not find authority yet, but I'm putting my money on no comma. Although in this case the I watched​ is very likely to be an unneeded observer attribution. And the construction is still a bit awkward and perhaps best addressed by avoidance.
 

WordTrance

Senior Member
Yeah, I kind of think no comma, too--thanks! What about a sentence such as: "He's a great author and one of the teachers that started a great afterschool program." Kind of the same thing again: no comma, right? Thanks for any and all help
 
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