1. kevinlee221
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    kevinlee221 New Member

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    Comma

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by kevinlee221, Aug 9, 2010.

    Why is the comma (in large size) in the following sentence necessary? Is it because of the word "furthermore"? If I I take the "furthermore" off, is that comma still necessary? I think "saying" and "announcing" are paralleling.

    As we were walking down the end of the wharf towards the ship, Queequeg carrying his harpoon, Captain Peleg in his gruff voice loudly hailed us from his wigwam, saying he had not suspected my friend was a cannibal , and furthermore announcing that he let no cannibals on board that craft, unless they previously produced their papers.

    Thanks
    Kevin
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It doesn't seem to me that it is necessary, with or without the "furthermore". I would like the sentence less if it were removed, but I think that it is optional.

    ChickenFreak
     
  3. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    The word 'furthermore' doesn't have anything to do with the comma you asked about. The comma is just breaking up a long, rather unwieldy sentence.

    As we were walking down the end of the wharf towards the ship, Queequeg carrying his harpoon, Captain Peleg in his gruff voice loudly hailed us from his wigwam, saying he had not suspected my friend was a cannibal , and furthermore announcing that he let no cannibals on board that craft, unless they previously produced their papers.

    That is an awful lot to squeeze into one sentence. It could easily be two or even three sentences. You are right thoughm the word furthermore could be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence and would shorten it a little.
     
  4. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Yes, the comma has nothing to do with 'furthermore', but the comma becomes necessary if you remove the 'and'.

    I agree, this sentence is too long.
     
  5. kevinlee221
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    kevinlee221 New Member

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    Thanks,
    Kevin
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I like the sentence the way it is, and I don't think it is too long. I think shortening it is a bad idea. I like the book as well.

    I suppose one can argue that what comes after the comma is an independent clause. If that's the case, then the comma is appropriate.
     
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  7. Capt Bob
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    Capt Bob Senior Member

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    I have more trouble with the disparity between "loudly hailed and "saying". A drop in volume without proximity??.
    Quote: "loudly hailed us from his wigwam, saying"

    How-bout-?--A period after wigwam, then,- He came over saying----
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The word "saying" is just as a precursor to summarizing what the captain says, loudly, from the wigwam. I don't think it indicates a change in volume. That's my take.

    Writing styles have changed a lot since then though.
     
  9. Capt Bob
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    Capt Bob Senior Member

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    "unless they previously produced their papers." ---??
    " " " " " menu.--for assurance.

    Would this be from the well known--"Moby Pickle"?
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Indeed. Moby Dick is a great book (though you can skip the chapters concerned only with whales and whaling and not miss any story).

    The scene where the narrator is first sent to share a room for the night with Queequeg is hilarious. Melville is actually quite funny, in a very dry way.
     
  11. Capt Bob
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    Capt Bob Senior Member

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    My original suggestion for period after wigwam. Was a simple -"out"- if you are uncomfortable with the sentence length.

    Cleaves it at midpoint, separating, A. Your setting description & B. What the Capt. has to say.
    Funny indeed, especially if you spot his innuendo.

    My suggestion for period after wigwam, was an easy "out" if you are uncomfortable with sentence length.
    Cleaves it at midpoint, separating A. Description of setting, from B. What the Capt. had to say.

    Funny indeed, especially if you catch thee innuendo.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's perfectly correct, though in today's writing world, commas may not be used in that way as often as when melville was penning his chef d'oeuvre...

    and it's de rigueur [= the rules rule!] to cite the author, when excerpting another's work, kevin...
     
  13. zaffy
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    zaffy Contributing Member

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    What did Captain Peleg actually say and to whom did he say it?
     
  14. kevinlee221
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    kevinlee221 New Member

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    Moby Dick's semi-colon

    Why does author use the semicolon (in big size) in the following sentence? What's his intention? Is it because of that the "however" there? What happens if I take that semi-colon off?

    Next morning, Monday, after disposing of the embalmed head to a barber, for a block, I settled my own and comrade's bill ; using, however, my comrade's money.

    Thanks,
    Kevin
     
  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Probably because of the however.

    Are we doing your homework for you or something?
     
  16. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Does that sentence strike anyone else as a little awkward?
     
  17. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I would have used a comma there, and I'm not sure why he used a semicolon. If I took the semicolon away, I would take away "however" as well and not use a comma.

    On a related note, I feel like the inclusion of "however" warrants a comma before "using" just because the pause sounds good to my ears.
     
  18. kevinlee221
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    kevinlee221 New Member

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    Not for the homework but for the love of literature


    Not for the homework but for the love of literature
     
  19. zaffy
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    zaffy Contributing Member

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    Yes, that is why I mentioned the reported speech.


    As we were walking down the end of the wharf towards the ship, Queequeg carrying his harpoon, Captain Peleg in his gruff voice loudly hailed us from his wigwam, saying he had not suspected my friend was a cannibal , and furthermore announcing that he let no cannibals on board that craft, unless they previously produced their papers.

    If the speech had been direct and not reported it would go something like this.

    'I did not suspect your friend to be a cannibal, and I let no cannibls on board this craft unless they have previously produced their papers.'

    Which to me is not good.

    Reported speech has to sound as natural as direct speech, surely.
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Kevin, keep in mind that Melville wrote Moby Dick in 1851. Don't expect that literary conventions and punctuation standards have remained unchanged for over one hundred and fifty years.

    Don't nitpick mid-nineteenth century writing by twenty-first century standards.
     
  21. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The writing is Moby Dick is quite good, in my opinion. Yes, the grammar and word usage is archaic at times, by today's standard, but it still holds up well. And it is more of an example of literature as an art form than much modern writing.

    You could write the same story as Moby Dick by breaking up all the sentences, making them shorter, changing word usage, etc., but it would no longer be a great novel.
     

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