1. hewhorulestheworld
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    hewhorulestheworld New Member

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    Comma Usage

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by hewhorulestheworld, Nov 24, 2009.

    Are these sentences grammatically correct?

    My parents were many things, but never dreamers.

    Most would count only those whom they kiss in the real world, of course, but I remembered it so vividly and it seemed so real at the time that I have long since privately considered it to be my 'first' real kiss.

    We hadn't burned anything down or destroyed anything, but we had started a small fire in an empty parking lot for some reason and had cause to flee.

    I've noticed I have quite a few uses of commas follow by the word but in my current writing, and it repeated enough that I wanted to make sure it was acceptable.
     
  2. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    The comma doesn't have to be in the first sentence.

    There should be a comma after vividly in the second.

    The third one is correct.

    Yay, I'm the first to comment. :)
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i have to respectfully disagree, arch...

    i don't see why you'd say the comma isn't needed in the first sentence, since it is, imo...

    and i see no reason to put one after 'vividly'... however, i do see a need for one after 'time'...

    in the third sentence, the clause 'for some reason' can and probably should be set off with commas...
     
  4. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I see no problem with the comma in the first sentence, but I also don't think it must be there because "but" is connecting a phrase, and not an independent clause to a independent clause. Also, if the comma is removed, it causes no confusion.

    The reason I'd place a comma after "vividly" in the second sentence is because "I remembered it so vividly," and "it seemed so real at the time" are independent clauses. I'd also place a comma after time. I would have mentioned that as well if I weren't in such a rush. :p

    I can see "for some reason" as a paranthetical and as part of the sentence. I guess it depends on the meaning one is going for.
     
  5. Mister Micawber
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    Mister Micawber Member

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    And I see no reason for the quotes around 'first'.
     
  6. hewhorulestheworld
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    hewhorulestheworld New Member

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    The reason for the quotes around first come to the context of the sentence, and would not be apparent from that excerpt. That was perhaps a bad example in that respect, but useful in that I am now thoroughly confused about comma usage. Which is exactly where I want to be, because now I can learn something!

    Why would the comma not be necessary for the sentence #1 but and be necessary for the third?

    Also, is the reason these sentences are causing grammatical disagreement is that they are overly wordy?
     
  7. Mister Micawber
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    Mister Micawber Member

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    As I believe architectus has already explained, #1 has a compound predicate (one should not separate a subject from its verb by a single comma), while #3 is a compound sentence consisting of 2 independent clauses.
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I would keep the comma in the first sentence. It denotes a dramatic pause and works particularly well in this case.
     
  9. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Maia already said what I would have.:)

    The first sentence sounds wrong without a comma. . . like a bad case of robo writer.

    Second one: "I remembered it so vividly and it seemed so real at the time, that. . ."

    If you insert a comma, it kinda looks and sounds like a parenthetical, which it isn't. You wouldn't say, "It was so cold, (and heavy) I had to put it down," if both the weight and temperature were equal factors. Likewise, you obviously wouldn't say, "It was so cold, and heavy, that. . ."

    Not every rule you've read will apply to every sentence you write. Regarding the comma before the "and," I think we concluded elsewhere that it's largely a matter of opinion and often comes down to what "feels" right.
     
  10. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    It reads a lot smoother without the commas though.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    hewho...
    in re the 'first' quandary, first of all, if you're not using british rules, the marks need to be " " and not ' '...

    secondly, if any word needed emphasizing there, or doubt cast on it, it would probably be "kiss" and not "first"... the reason being first can only be first, can't be second, or third, or whatever, right?... but a kiss can be something a bit less than a "real" kiss, thus could be put in " "...
     
  12. hewhorulestheworld
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    hewhorulestheworld New Member

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    No, actually in this situation the kiss doesn't need to only be the first. The entire story is...wierd. I suppose I should explain the concept. The concept of the story is that it is being told by a death-row inmate, as an explanation for why he killed several people. The actual narrative involves a girl whom he met within his dreams. During the course of these dreams he rescues her from a strange dark hole, and later kisses her. Anyways, he dreams of her many times, and eventually becomes convinced she's some sort of outsider to his mind, something he let inside his dreams.

    I emphasized first in that particular line because it wasn't a real kiss. Ordinarily if you are saying 'this is my first kiss' it would be with a real person, and not with a dream.
     
  13. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    You should put quotes around "kiss," (if you use quotes at all) since it wasn't a real kiss. It was a real "first" no matter how you slice it--the first time he kissed a girl in a dream.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    as i just said, hewho... thanks for the backup, kas!
     

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