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  1. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    Those tricky little commas, where should they go?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Brindy, Aug 16, 2016.

    The following is part of my back cover blurb and I am now questioning the position of the first comma. I now feel it should go after 'so' rather than before and another after 'city'

    1665 London was a dangerous place for dogs, so when the two brothers found themselves suddenly in the middle of the plague-ridden city it was a race against time to escape the clutches of the street dogs, the perils of the rats and the dangers of the dog catchers.

    I don't think this is wrong, but the change may be better.

    What do you think?



     
  2. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    I think you'll need that first comma regardless, but IMO you could correctly put parenthetical commas around 'when the two brothers found themselves suddenly in the middle of the plague-ridden city' as well (i.e. one after 'so' and one after 'city'). I prefer it how it is currently, but that's just me :)
     
  3. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    London, 1665. A dangerous place for dogs. When the two brothers (litter-mates?) are thrust (I'm suggesting this instead of find themselves suddenly largely to remove that damned adverb!) into the middle of the plague-ridden city, it's a race against time to escape the clutches (attentions?) of the street dogs, the perils of the rats and the dangers (clutches?) of the dog catchers.

    I've broken up your long sentence; my feeling is that it's now punchier for that, and better being in present tense. It also removes the comma dilemma.

    My other suggested rewordings are to get rid of a duplication of dangerous-dangers in such a short space; and clutches seems more appropriate to dog catchers (did they really have those in London in 1665?) than to packs of street dogs.
     
  4. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Aren't back cover blurbs written in present tense?

    I agree with @Shadowfax about 'actioning' up those verbs to get rid of adverbs.

    As for commas, I agree with @Sifunkle that it works the way it is. In blurbs, I think it's like magazine copy. As long as it isn't going to trip the reader up, leave the commas out. And looking at it that way, you may not even need the first one.
     
  5. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    Thank you for your suggestions, I shall mull them over, although I know 'thrust into'won't work as they quite literally appear there from their garden in 2016.

    As for the dog catchers, yes they did. During the plague 40,000 dogs and nearly 200,000 cats were killed in the city of London trying to stop the spread of the plague, as it was believed they were responsible for it spreading. Families were given the responsibility of killing their own animals and could be prosecuted if they didn't, although my research has failed to unearth any details of punishments handed out. Animal catchers were paid to patrol the streets to catch and kill any they found.
     
  6. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    ...flung into/hurled into? Either of which you could preface with "find themselves".

    ...or "are catapulted"?
     
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  7. theamorset
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    theamorset Contributing Member

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    Sorry. Only cats can be catapulted.
     
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  8. Francis de Aguilar
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    Francis de Aguilar Active Member

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    Comma after city for sure.

    London, in 1665, is a dangerous place for dogs. When two brothers find themselves inexplicably in the middle of the plague-ridden city, it's a race against time to escape the snapping jaws of street dogs, the perils of the rats and the clutches of the dog catchers.
     
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