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Comma Confusion (Or not)

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Fino, Nov 17, 2018.

  1. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    Commas have been annoying me for as long as I can remember! What makes it confusing is how seemingly inconsistent their use is in pretty much everything I read. Are commas objective, or is there an element of subjectivity to it?

    Just then, I think a lot of people would write, even in a novel or other professional publication, "Are commas objective or is there an element of subjectivity to it?"

    I feel as though I fully understand all the commas rules. I should, I've read about them a ridiculous amount, because I never felt sure.

    Just then, that was a run-on sentence.

    I've read things saying that some commas are subjective, but how could that be? If there is a set of rules on how to use them, then how does that allow for subjectivity?

    If writers feel there are too many commas, do they just delete ones that won't ruin the meaning of the sentence? Are there any writers that uses commas correctly in every instance? Or is that bad writing? Because people don't like seeing too many little lines?

    Do I know how to use commas and people are just wrong a lot of the time? Why would they do that? I mean in published writing. I don't bother to use them correctly all the time in informal settings like this one and don't care whether or not others do.

    The evil of commas!:mad::mad::mad:

    It's nice to make a not-so-depressing thread every once in a while. :D

    Commas! :mad:
     
  2. Theta.G

    Theta.G Well-Known Member

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    Death to commas!
    :poutingcat:

    Haha. No stress... as long as someone doesn't create another [your] [you're*] movement... Where they try to foolishly dismiss an entire argument based on grammar... and there are still people stupid enough to buy into it... most grammar nazi's will overlook commas.

    When i see people like that in forums i picture nikola tesla demonstrating marvelous technology to a group. Then some guy in the crowd standing up saying "UUUHHH... your shoe is untied you moron!! therefore your life's work is invalid. huu huu huu" then runs out of the room, frolicking as if they were in a field of flowers similar to tide commercials. While the rest of the group continues to learn and share below surface level info.

    Anyway i think the subjectivity of commas is similar to sentence pauses...
    Anyway... i think the subjectivity of commas... is similar to sentence pauses...
    Anyway, i think the subjectivity of commas, is similar to sentence pauses.
    Somewhat interchangeable.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
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  3. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    I hope not! I'd go mad! Commas are not to signify pauses, they exist to separate a sentence into logical parts in order to make the meaning of the sentence undeniably clear. But sometimes things become things just by everyone doing it, so maybe you're right. :eek:
     
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  4. Graphin

    Graphin They're red can duck?

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    Except if it's important I just do it by how it just seems right to me, on top of that I only know german comma rules but english is similar enough right?

    No soliciting or trespassing violators will be prosecuted.
    Cation when hunting pedestrians using walk trails.
    Most of the time travelers worry about their luggage.
    - pregnant children and disabled -
     
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  5. Kyou Nukui

    Kyou Nukui music is amazing

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    I helped my grandfather, Jack, off his horse.
    o_O
     
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  6. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Commas, and in fact all punctuation, are special effects for writing :)

    As @Kyou Nukui very nicely demonstrated, commas, or the lack of them, can change the meaning of the sentence.

    Commas can speed up or slow down the pace of reading so as to highlight a point in a sentence, or cause the reader to pause to think. If you are writing a CV or application, commas are a good idea because your potential employee will spend more time reading and considering what you have written. A lack of commas is monotonous and will cause the reader to tune out and skip over your application. Obviously, one should not overdo it: too many commas are just plain annoying :)
     
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  7. Iamnotarabot

    Iamnotarabot Well-Known Member

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    I learned that in french but I guess this is the same in any language using it.
     
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  8. OkRad

    OkRad Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I can't say anything that could ever illustrate this better than @Kyou Nukui ! Hahaha.
     
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  9. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    SOME REASONS TO HATE PUNCTUATION :)

    If you’ve ever been anxious about punctuating, you’re definitely not alone. Those pesky little marks have driven even some great authors crazy. William Wordsworth and Charlotte Brontë, for example, both asked their publishers to correct their punctuation for them. And Lord Byron, calling himself “a sad hand at your punctuation,” asked for the name of anyone who could help him with commas.

    Punctuation has frustrated and annoyed other famous writers, too. Apostrophes are a favorite source of stress. George Bernard Shaw despised them. He called apostrophes “uncouth bacilli” and refused to use many of them in his play Pygmalion. Its dialogue included “That aint proper writing,” “Wont you sit down,” and “Who said I didnt?” (He did use the spellings he’ll and it’s, though, probably to avoid confusion with hell and its.) Shaw didn’t have much respect for dashes either: he called them “the great refuge of those who are too lazy to punctuate.”

    You are not alone Fino:eek:

    On Our Love-Hate Relationship with Punctuation
     
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  10. Kyou Nukui

    Kyou Nukui music is amazing

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    When commas are used in a pair, as here, the sentence should make sense when you ignore the words in between the pair of commas.
    Just like (as here) a pair of parentheses.

    Commas are usually preferred. That may be because parentheses are a more recent invention. The pair of commas are called parenthetical commas, if I recall correctly.

    I'm glad you were tickled by my example. I can't take credit; I read it somewhere.

    People aren't using enough semicolons anymore. :sweat:They make it difficult to get to the semicolon on the phone's keyboard now, which irritates me because they are useful. A semicolon can often make the word "but" redundant. The word "but" should really be preceeded by a semicolon in any case.
    I'm not going to tell anyone off for incorrect punctuation; but I like to be quite precise, so I find these things useful.

    Okay that's enough of that LOL this is a friendly place not a formal letter or an English exam. :relaxed:
     
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  11. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Commas are for proper English. They can replace the word and. They separate words and thoughts and important to note when trying t0 understand something you are reading. When it comes to casual conversation in writing it isn't used as it would be in a formal writing because in conversation we aren't as concerned about proper English and sentence structure.
    The use of commas and sentence structuring is important when it comes to reading and understanding the Bible, for instance. I've had plenty of discussions because the other person is not paying attention to the sentence structure, which can totally change the meaning of something.
     
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  12. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Let's just say that I can handle an abundance of commas over the use of run-on sentences.

    Too many commas? Yes, that can be problematic too. Where one begins to read like William Shatner often sounds. :p
     
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  13. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    You know, it's discussions like these that bring out our desire for discussions.
     
  14. tree

    tree Blue/Green Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    Or not.
    :expressionless:
     
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  15. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I do have some problem with the wrong words being emphasized. My favorite show is "Last Man Standing", but it drives me crazy because they're always saying the sentences wrong. Correct sentences, but saying it wrong.
     
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  16. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    But since there are factually established rules on when to use commas, do you mean that we pick and choose when to ignore the rules based on the factors you described? And it's not wrong? Or it is wrong but okay? So it's more artistic than scientific? :eek:
     
  17. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Language can be "freelanced".

    Largely because it involves rules that are not enforced beyond the reach of any classroom. Ironically making whatever hard rules of grammar there are as being truly "academic".
     
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  18. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    I feel like this is a joke somehow, but I don't get it. Or is it not a joke, and it really does just bring out our desire for discussions? :confused:
     
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  19. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    Maybe I shouldn't be a writer then. :rolleyes: Or I can just be the annoying one that always uses them correctly. :cool:
     
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  20. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    You can write as you please. Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" continues to be a bestseller. Have you ever tried to read it?

    I rest my case. ;)

    Hopefully most modern publishers are willing to reign in authors to some degree. In Hitler's case while art book publisher Ernst Hanfstaengl was quite an educated and articulate man, I suspect he wouldn't have dreamed of critiquing his beloved Hitler- even in 1925.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
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