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  1. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    The comma-splice

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by OurJud, Sep 12, 2016.

    I remember another thread went off-topic and there were a few posts on this subject, but I'd like to try and discover whether or not I use them, once and for all. I suspect I do, but I don't know for sure.

    My basic understanding is that if the sentence separates other whole sentences by a comma, then it's a splice.

    We got to the top of the long hill, we were very tired. Comma-splice, yes?

    But what about this, taken from a book I'm currently reading:

    The good old days, the fat days, page upon page of manuscript; prosperous days, something to say, the story of Vera Rivken, and the pages mounted and I was happy. Fabulous days, the rent paid, still fifty dollars in my wallet, nothing to do all day and night but write and think of writing; ah, such sweet days, to see it grow, to worry for it, myself, my book, my words, maybe important, maybe timeless, but mine nonetheless, the indomitable Arturo Bandini, already deep into his first novel.

    Are these comma-splices?
     
  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    No, they aren't. They don't make it to being comma splices because:

    The first sentence isn't even a complete sentence. There's no definable subject - verb - predicate. It's just a list of things, impressions and experiences. There is a semicolon in the middle because the writer is using it as a "power comma", to set off one group of things that are separated by commas from another group of things also set off by commas.

    The good old days, the fat days, page upon page of manuscript; prosperous days, something to say, the story of Vera Rivken, and the pages mounted and I was happy.

    And upon review, the second sentence is the same dynamic:

    Fabulous days, the rent paid, still fifty dollars in my wallet, nothing to do all day and night but write and think of writing; ah, such sweet days, to see it grow, to worry for it, myself, my book, my words, maybe important, maybe timeless, but mine nonetheless, the indomitable Arturo Bandini, already deep into his first novel.

    There's an implied idea of These are the things I was experiencing (insert lists)., but this isn't explicitly stated so both sentences are actually long, colorful, elaborate fragments.
     
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  3. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    But my first example is, yes?
     
  4. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yes.
     
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  5. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well if it's as simple as this, I don't think I do use them, in a completely natural, not-even-thinking-about-it, kind of way.
     
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  6. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    Comma splices are those little niggles that only really show up if you're not aware of them. I used to use tons of comma splices until it clicked and I finally understood what they were. Now I can spot them from a mile away and while they still happen, it's MUCH less frequently.
     
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  7. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    ^ I'd consider that a valid use of a fragment.
     
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  8. thirdwind

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I agree with Tenderiser. The second sentence would need to be an independent clause for that to be a comma splice.
     
  9. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Contributing Member Supporter

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    I'd say that's more odd than splice. "Walked out the door" isn't a sentence because there is no subject; it's just another verb and sentence continuation to describe what "he" did. "Having" in the first sentence makes it dependent on the second, so the first comma's not a splice, either (someone correct me if I'm wrong). This kind of writing (ditching the "and") drives me nuts when I read it, but this particular example isn't a comma splice.

    Having overstayed his welcome, he got up, he walked out the door.
    In this example, the second comma is a comma splice because the subject "he" makes both sentences independent of each other.
     

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