1. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Grammar Comma splice or what?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Wayjor Frippery, Apr 25, 2016.

    Hi everyone,

    I've just finished reading the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer (as recommended somewhere here by @Wreybies, but I can't remember where), and Jeff-jeffety-jeff does a lot of this (my examples):

    He picked up the broom, swept the yard, made dinner.

    and this:

    He felt tired, went to bed.

    What would you call that? A series with no 'and'; separate sentences that should be separated with full stops or semicolons but are only separated with commas because of the ellipses (making them arguably not full sentences that require semicolons); or (in the case of the last one) an ellipsis stretched to include 'and' as well as the omitted subject in the second sentence; creative grammar; bad English; or something else?

    I'd be most interested to hear your thoughts, all ye grammar mavens.

    :bigsmile:
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I wouldn't call this any form of splice, no... I would call this creative use of fragments were I pressed for a coinage.

    Did you like the books?
     
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  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I see that sort of thing all the time in writing, particularly in modern writing that is going for a more edgy word flow (though not just those works). I don't know what to call it, but it is prevalent enough that I don't think using that sentence structure is problematic. It's a stylistic choice. Creative writing.
     
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  4. The Triarii
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    The Triarii Member

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    He picked up the broom, swept the yard, made dinner.

    He felt tired, went to bed.

    Neither are a splice because no subject is supplied for the following sections. Therefore, if there was a period they would be fragments. Not using "and" is something else though. If anyone finds some clarification on this I would be really interested
     
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  5. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    I did, very much! Mr V is excellent at taking you deep inside his characters' heads. I loved the premise and the way the 'facts' were dished out over the course of the three books. I also enjoyed his style, although I did get slightly impatient a couple of times during book 2 — come on, advance the plot! — but only in passing.

    My only real criticisms were that:

    ...he didn't give just a touch more info about the aliens, and that the end of Control's story was left a mite too open for my taste — what's on the other side of the light at the bottom of the topographic anomoly, God dammit!

    Neverthless, they're great books, and I'd recommend them to anyone who liks a good bit of high-concept, character-driven drama. :bigsmile:

    --------------------------------------

    Me too!

    Anybody...?
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Good to know. :) The way the story spoke about communication left me deep in thought and mumbling to myself for days afterwards. I like a story that pokes at my foundations.

    I don't think we can know more than is shown about whatever or whoever is causing Area X, or if it's a single phenomenon, as is postulated that it may not be in the book. At the end of the story we realize Jeff is talking to us about frames of reference and the arbitrariness of our definitions of language, communication, life, non-life, etc. I took away from it that he was cautioning that what we think we know and the way we think we know it may only be a tiny fraction - and an arbitrary one at that - of the whole answer.
     
  7. Earp
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    Earp Active Member

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    Technically not a comma splice, but I'd really like to see an 'and' in there. I'm not sure what's gained by leaving it out, though I won't say it's wrong.
     
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  8. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    I agree with you. We can't know more and that's the point. It didn't stop the science geek in me wanting it though. What you said about communication, I agree, right on the button — my head is still swimming. It raised the whole question of what is knowable — that there might be limits to our grey matter that cage us with one set of interpretations because we are incapable of reasoning beyond our biologically imposed limits. I would love to see a sequel set a million years in the future (maybe I wouldn't really, but you get where I'm coming from) where we see if humanity has managed to evolve within Area X and what we've become.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
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  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I have to say that I left that story with a feeling of sadness and smallness. In so many ways I related to all of the characters. I've been all of them at some point or another. I've been determined, I've been assured, I've been insecure, I've been righteous, I've been bad, I've been completely lost with nothing under my feet. This, more than anything, was the reason I recommended these books in that other thread concerning giving the reader an honest connection with the inside of a character, not just random factoids that orbit him/her.
     
  10. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Again, you're quite right. The high concept is lovely, but it's the characters that make this book. I echo your feelings for the whole cast. I particularly liked Ghost Bird's doppelganger - haven't we all tried to get out from the shadow of someone else at some point in our lives? I want to make my mark and be me - and not sound petulant by declaring it (me not her). Great books. Great characters.
     

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