1. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Superfluous commas?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by dillseed, May 24, 2014.

    Without changing anything, are any commas needed within the quoted dialogue? I say no, because they are all punctuated correctly as is. The choices in red are incorrect. Do you concur?

    Joe said, "Pam brought apples and oranges and potato salad to the barbecue."
    (Not: Joe said, "Pam brought apples, and oranges, and potato salad to the barbecue.")

    Hal said, "Steve will bring beer or liquor or hash brownies to the party."
    (Not: Hal said, "Steve will bring beer, or liquor, or hash brownies to the party.")

    Frank said, "Neither John nor Steve nor Pete nor Mike will be there."
    (Not: Frank said, "Neither John, nor Steve, nor Pete, nor Mike will be there.")

    Dale said, "Either John or Sam or Connie will pick up the keys."
    (Not: Dale said, "Either John, or Sam, or Connie will pick up the keys.")

    Thank you. :)
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, I agree with the black, not the red. Also, Steve is welcome at my place anytime. ;)
     
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  3. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Choosing from those cases, I agree with @Wreybies.

    I know you say not to change anything, but I am going to do that anyway. :twisted:
    My personal preference would be to replace the first and or or with a comma, like this:
    • Joe said, "Pam brought apples, oranges and potato salad to the barbecue."
    • Hal said, "Steve will bring beer, liquor or hash brownies to the party."
    • Frank said, "Neither John, Steve, Pete nor Mike will be there."
    It think it reads much smoother and easier, and it's not so repetitive.
     
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  4. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Me, too, Wreybies! LOL
     
  5. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    I was just trying to see whether the punctuation was correct if someone spoke like that. I know the other option is smoother. :)
     
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  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Komposten's way is technically the way to go since it's grammatically correct, but since this is fiction (and dialogue at that), it's correct the way you have it as well.
     
  7. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Since it's dialogue, isn't pretty much anything correct? :p
     
  8. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    In a sense, yes... There are proper ways to write certain things, even in dialogue. In this instance, for example, if you didn't use "ands/ors/norse/etc" OR commas, even though it is dialogue, it would still be incorrect. So, yes, you can use improper English, but you should use proper grammar within the scope of what you're doing...if that makes sense?
     
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  9. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thank you. :)
     
  10. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Ah, there ought to be some way to go around it! There always is!
     
  11. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    Well, and, the fact is, when it comes to using improper English, there is a lack of real rules. How can you impose rules on breaking the rules? But there are guidelines.

    But yes, you're right: people break them, and get away with it, all the time. XD
     

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