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  1. Auroral3orealis
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    Auroral3orealis New Member

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    Punctuation: comma

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Auroral3orealis, May 26, 2010.

    Hey everyone,

    So, I was reading T.S.Eliot's The Ash Wednesday, which I've been in love with for years, and I came across this: "But to what purpose disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves I do not know."
    Now, I am too much of a pedant when it comes to punctuation. Does the sentence need a comma after "rose-leaves" or not?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If anything, I would say a question mark. But I would grant T. S. Eliot poetic license without hesitation.
     
  3. Auroral3orealis
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    Auroral3orealis New Member

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    Thanks for your reply.
    It felt weird without a comma because there is a pause after "rose-leaves", and when there is a pause, there is a comma--usually. However, "But to what purpose disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves" is a full question. It is independent, so you can't add "I do not know", which is an independent clause itself, to it. The result would be a comma splice.
     

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