1. Zaffarack
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    Zaffarack New Member

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    Quick Question About a Comma

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Zaffarack, Jun 13, 2013.

    Hey guys,

    I just had a really quick question regarding a comma in a sentence. Could anyone kindly let me know which of the following (basic, generic) sentences is grammatically correct (assuming one is, haha)?

    Version 1: The house was large, enormous, even.
    Version 2: The house was large, enormous even.

    Thank you in advance!
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    The second one seems grammatically correct, although it's a strange sentence, standing on it's own. The first one, if you left the comma in, would mean the house was large, enormous, and even!
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I say #2.

    The first one reads like a list of three qualities. The second comma makes me think you are using even in its other sense of smooth or consistant.

    Edit ~ Jannart beat me to the punch. Great minds think alike. :)
     
  4. Zaffarack
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    Zaffarack New Member

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    Alright, thank you both! Looks like the second option seems to be the way to go - and I know it might be a bit weird on its own, it's likely part of a larger sentence, but I didn't want to post the whole thing while I work it out (it would likely detract from the basic question). Again, I sincerely appreciate your quick replies, have a nice day!
     
  5. PeterJ
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    PeterJ Member

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    The second one may be more "proper," but it makes me read it in Snaglepuss's voice :/
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    #1 reads as, the house was 'even' and large and enormous. Clearly not what you meant but that's what putting the last comma does to the meaning.

    So I join the consensus, #2 is correct.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    LOL ;) As in, "Exit, stage left even!" :D
     
  8. huntsman40
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    huntsman40 Active Member

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    While a comma does have some places you need to put one, and other places where it is up to the writer if they want to use one there themselves, there is one guide that can help you in some situations. When you have written your sentence, and you're not sure about it, speak it out aloud. A comma is a pause in speech and so you should find in many cases you can hear what sounds wrong and fix it like that.

    Of course this isn't a fix for everything, but it can solve you some of your sentence issues.
     
  9. Zaffarack
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    Zaffarack New Member

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    [Sorry, double post]
     
  10. Zaffarack
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    Zaffarack New Member

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    GingerCoffee,
    I think you hit the nail on the head! For some reason I couldn't see that - but you are right; it reads as a list, which isn't what I was aiming for.

    Huntsman,
    Thanks for the advice! Unfortunately, this was actually the problem in this case :p When I read it in my head, Version 1 sounded more like I intended. However, it wouldn't typically be read in the way I had planned - which is why I needed a fresh view. I do agree with you though, if it sounded better and didn't have an unintended meaning, I usually would bend the rules of grammar a bit.
     
  11. huntsman40
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    huntsman40 Active Member

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    Speak it aloud, not in your head, as that might be the problem. Number one makes it sound like you are saying the house is large, enormous AND even. If you speak it aloud and leave a heartbeat pause where each comma is you'd likely realise that you are never going to speak like the option 1 example.

    Was this just an example sentence? If so, what was your actual sentence that was causing you a problem?
     
  12. Anthony Martin
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    Anthony Martin Active Member

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    This reiterates to me the ways in which a comma can stand in as an "and", as is true in #1. I have been experimenting with this in my own writing (though not necessarily with regard to lists). For example:

    He held Kim's eyes, reached to touch her shoulder.

    vs.

    He held Kim's eyes and reached to touch her shoulder.

    Depending on the piece, I have found that a comma in place of an "and" achieves a different aesthetic that is more fitting.
     
  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Very much so. The version with the comma, without the and, lends a smooth order of action. It's more visual. :) It's a bit dramatic, so I would be careful with overuse of such structures, but the same advice holds true for any and all structures. :)
     
  14. Anthony Martin
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    Anthony Martin Active Member

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    Spot on. My progression:

    1st draft: no use of said structure
    2nd draft: no use of said structure
    3rd draft: what about this comma structure? nice!
    4th draft: a lot of that comma structure
    5th draft: too much of that comma structure
    6th draft: better stop using so much of that comma structure
    7th draft: took out some of those comma structures

    ...

    10th draft: despair

    :)
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    neither one works well, imo... and that 'even' is clunky... i'd do this:

    The house was large. Close to enormous.

    or
    The house was large--more like enormous.
     

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