1. Josh.M
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    Josh.M New Member

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    Periodic sentences

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Josh.M, Apr 1, 2012.

    Hi all.

    Just out of curiosity, out of the following two sentences which is considered better written:

    Jenny walked into the doctor's office, unsure what to expect, hoping it would be good news; to discover the verdict.

    Unsure what to expect, hoping it would be good news; Jenny walked into the doctor's office to discover the verdict.

    In the first sentence, is it considered bad from to beak up the clause 'Jenny walked into the doctors office to discover the verdict' and place details in the middle?

    I prefer the second sentence, but the main point of my question is to find out if the first version is considered bad/good practise because it breaks up the main clause.

    Josh.

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  2. art
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    art Senior Member Contributor

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    They are both ugly, frankly, and, if you care for such things, they would both be adjudged technically defective: the bits either side of a semi-colon should be able to stand alone as fully formed sentences.

    to discover the verdict.. is a fragment
    Unsure what to expect, hoping it would be good news.. is a fragment


    Unsure what to expect but hoping it would be good news, Jenny walked into the doctor's office to discover the verdict.

    Would be one way - of many - to write this.
  3. Josh.M
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    Josh.M New Member

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    Hi art, thanks for the reply. Maybe my use of the semi colon is wrong, but I'm using it here in the sense that you would in adding detail to something in a list. For example:

    In jim's room there was: a ball, which his dad bought for christmas; a bed and a chair.

    So in the case of my first post 'hoping it was good news ;' is meant to provide extra detail to the 'not sure what to expect.'

    Although looking at it again I realise I could use a comma instead of the semi colon.

    Also the version you give contains the word 'be' something I would personally replace with a comma.
  4. Erato
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    Erato New Member

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    Art is right. And you not only could, but must use a comma instead of a semicolon. That use of a semicolon is wrong.
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The first is just horrible. What follows the semicolon is a fragment, and not one that serves any good purpose to leave as a fragment.

    The second is a bit closer. Getting rid of the semicolon, and eliminating a redundant phrase, it could be converted to:

  6. Josh.M
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    Josh.M New Member

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    Thanks for the help, clearly I need to do some serious work on my punctuation. I knew there was something wrong with the first sentence, just needed some help seeing what it was.
  7. digitig
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    digitig Senior Member Contributor

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    As others have said, the semicolon doesn't work. The first one is clunky because the reader has lost sight of "Jenny walked into the doctor's office" by the time they get to "to discover the verdict". Two parenthetic clauses seem too many there.

    I think the second sentence is fine -- not at all ugly -- if you fix the semicolon. "Unsure what to expect, hoping it would be good news, Jenny walked into the doctor's office to discover the verdict."
  8. Josh.M
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    Josh.M New Member

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    Thanks digitig, that's exactly what I wanted to know.

    I knew the sentence was poorly written. I was trying to find out why it was poorly written so I could avoid making the same mistake in the future.

    I see why the semi colon is a mistake, and I should have spotted it before posting.
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