1. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Grammar A list of sentences — good or bad?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Wayjor Frippery, Apr 24, 2016.

    Is it grammatically acceptable to make a list of sentences?

    You can make a list of actions: I went to the shop, bought some chocolate, and stuffed my face.

    Or a list of things: I like writing, reading, and wasting time on forums.

    Etc.

    But can you make a list of sentences? I posted some crap, you creased your brow, and everyone's brain exploded.

    I feel the answer should be simple, but today I can't see it. Any thoughts?
     
  2. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, that is valid.
     
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  3. Samuel Lighton
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    Samuel Lighton Contributing Member

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    The punctuation is there, so yes it's valid. If it wasn't, it'd be a run-on-sentence.
     
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  4. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Cheers, @daemon, @Samuel Lighton, that's what I thought, but today I seem to have forgotten my English, everything looks wrong, and I can't write at all.
     
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  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    As mentioned above, it's correct. However, if you have long sentences (or phrases), you should use semicolons instead of commas.
     
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  6. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Thanks, @thirdwind. I teach English for a living (not creative writing but rather English as a foreign language). You wouldn't believe it, would you?

    Sometimes I stare so long at a sentence I've crafted that it might as well be written in Linear B. Don't be a language teacher if you want to write fiction. What's that proverb about wood and trees...?
     
  7. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Watch you don't slip into comma splice, which is where you use a comma when a full stop is needed precisely because they are two separate sentences. It is sometimes acceptable to use a comma if the sentences are closely linked, I think. So basically it's fine, but it would be easy to use it incorrectly.
     
  8. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    @Mckk, quite so! You might be interested in this other question I've just posted: Comma splice or what?
     
  9. The Triarii
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    The Triarii Member

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    I posted some crap, you creased your brow, and everyone's brain exploded.

    Would this not be better?

    I posted some crap; you creased your brow, and everyone's brain exploded.
     
  10. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, because it mixes semicolons and commas at the same level of separation. Use one or the other and use it consistently. When commas work fine (as they do in this case), use commas.

    On the other hand, if one of the three clauses has a comma in it, then you should use semicolons to separate the clauses:

    I posted some crap; you creased your brow, scrunched your nose, and scowled; and everyone's brain exploded, but not literally, of course.

    (At that point, it's better just to separate them into sentences. But use semicolons if you want to keep it as a single sentence.)
     
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  11. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    I liked your post @Wayjor Frippery. It was like an 'empathy like' and whatnot. Some days, ahh, I'm there too; my grasp of grammar lets go. Seriously: semi-colons turn into emdashes—that then get all diffident and hide in colons. Full stops stop, masquerade as commas on their period and stave off any chances of an interrobang. My clauses go all blunt. Nouns, the f***ers, get all possesive and no adjectives can describe my verb garden!

    My theory: based on having my nose in NewScientist occasionally is that whenever we call something up for reference; we also call it up (unwillingly) for edit. So a late to life's party, half-remembered grammar rule at the moment of recall can be mixed with others and morph into being a new rule altogether... o_O ...that one's subconscious self then reports (after some wrangling) to the conscious self as a 'bit of an aberration'.

    Ultimately it leaves one in a pickle.

    All's not necessarily lost mind. A lost mind? Salvation usually comes a day later for me at an earlier hour in the day and after a cup of freshly ground coffee. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
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  12. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Voice of David Bellamy — Here in the verb garden, we see a plethora of little critters. Look at them run, conjugate and gerund about, waving their little participles. Who'd have thought there was so much life right here among the verbs!

    I love your theory, Seth. It explains why I'm so often pickled.
     
  13. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    I like to think I do just fine in your situation.
    Though I've started stumbling over my articles in speech thanks to overexposure to Russian/Latvian speakers. Bad grammar is catchy.
     
  14. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    @NiallRoach, yep, I know what you mean. Spanish infects me constantly — I'll see you now (later) — You're all right, no (aren't you)? — Kisses (Best regards) (!)
     
  15. The Triarii
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    The Triarii Member

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    To clarify: because they are so closely related you would use a comma. If there were not strictly related then you would use a semi-colon or would it be its own sentence?
     
  16. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    @The Triarii, no, you would use a comma because the three sentences are items in a series that make a list (in which the final item begins with 'and'). You could separate the items in the list with semicolons if the items were complex sentences that contained commas of their own.
     
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  17. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's pretty much it. The only reason I see to write "a; b; and c" instead of "a, b, and c" is if one of the items contains a comma. Using semicolons to separate the items avoids the confusion of whether a comma in the sentence is part of an item or between items.
     
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