1. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Examples of Punctuation Required.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by obsidian_cicatrix, Jul 17, 2013.

    Hi there!

    I wonder if you might be able to help me? I have difficulty with punctuation, and a disability that makes it very hard for me to deal with things that are not absolute in nature. (Put simply, I have great difficulty in making up my mind.) Although certain rules apply, it seems to me that there can be numerous ways to punctuate a sentence, hence my confusion. I realise that it can be a matter of personal taste, but I find myself having to write up each line in a multitude of different ways, because I'm unsure it's reading as I would wish it to. (And then find I can't chose between them... grr!)

    I've randomly lifted a line from an email I sent this morning to an e-mail buddy. Any chance you could punctuate it for me, and explain to me why you've chosen to do it that way? I've removed my own punctuation to give you a blank canvas.

    Your help would be greatly appreciated.

    The line is:

    The crowds had already started to gather the cops were there in force and as I walked through the throng I couldn't help but think seriously people what exactly is the attraction

    Feel free to deconstruct the sentence if you feel it needs it.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The crowds had already started to gather. The cops were there in force and as I walked through the throng I couldn't help but think, "Seriously, people? What exactly is the attraction?"

    Is how I would write it. ;)

    EDIT ~ Seriously, people could end in a question mark or a period depending on how you deliver it. Both would take a comma before people because people is in the vocative, thus a subordinate clause.
     
  3. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Thanks for that, but what I really need to know is why? What were your thought processes as you did it?
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    OK. :) Let's do it! ;)

    This is a single independent clause. It ends in a period.

    Though lengthy, this is till a single, independent clause. There are places where one might insert a "decorative" comma to enforce a pause in speech but this is a stylistic choice that I rarely make. People become addicted to the "every time you pause in speech" advice that is sold as a rule and, is in fact, not a rule.

    I start this bit the same as dialogue because that's what it is, internal dialogue. Again, the comma is in place because people is in the Vocative Case, thus a subordinate, dependent clause. It needs a comma to demarcate the boundary of the clause.

    This is the end of the internal dialogue. I finish it with a closing quote and treat it as the simple, independent clause that it is, in this case an interrogative; thus, I give it only a question mark at the end because there are no dependent clauses to demarcate.
     
  5. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Now that's more like it! Thank you.

    Since you'd already broken up the sentence; do you think a semi-colon could be placed instead of the of the first period, and the "and" before "as" dropped, and if so, what would be the effect on the sentence?

    Apologies if I'm sucking up your time,by the way.

    Indeed. This was pointed out to me before, as it was a habit that had been encouraged when I was still at school. Since actively trying to do something about it, my work has improved.
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I would not make use of the semicolon where you mention. Were you to drop the and, you would lose the junction between the two clauses, making of them two independent clauses needing a period to divide them.

     
  7. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    You've given me a lot to consider. I appreciate it.
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    You are welcome. :) To explain a bit better as regards not using the semicolon where you mentioned... The semicolon indicates two independent clauses (complete sentences), not otherwise joined by a conjunction. But the two independent clauses should have a very tight, ideological relationship, one to the other. This is why you often hear the proscription against using the semicolon. It's not that it should be avoided. It's just that it has a rather precise purpose that those in a position to admonish rarely have the patience to explain. ;) The proscription against the passive voice falls into the same category. There is a time and a place for them. It's just a subtle time and place to explain.
     
  9. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Since you mentioned avoiding the semi-colon use, I think I managed to figure it out for myself, though your further clarification, is doing my self-confidence wonders. There was something about the way it read that felt off, and that is exactly what I need to be able to feel. It's a strange thing but this doesn't seem to be a problem when I'm reading the work of others. Go figure!

    If I could look this stuff up in a text book and understand, I would, but I find that they never answer my questions in a way I can absorb. It's lovely that you've stuck around to help me understand.
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I understand what you mean, truly. ;) It wasn't until I had to learn another language with very different rules (Russian) that I understood the rules of my own language with any kind of rational understanding above the organic knowledge of use.
     

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