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Old August 3 2013, 05:24 AM   #1
Sgt_G
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Location: USA
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OT: Grammar Cops Unite!

Feel free to tell me to go fly a kite.

Here's the thing: I rarely if ever post a reply to someone pointing grammar errors. Lord knows, I'm not perfect, and we'll all usually typing fast while posting to the board. However, when people write fan-fic, I assume they do so off-line in a word processor and upload it. There should be little excuse for basic grammar & punctuation errors.

I'm sorry, but as I was reading some fiction stories here, something kept jumping out at me in almost every story posted.

One of my pet peeves is the wrong use of commas when joining two independent clauses -- that is, phrases that can stand alone as complete sentences.

The boys went to the game.
The girls went to the movies.

These can stand alone, or they can be joined into one sentence by a variety of methods.

WRONG: The boys went to the game, the girls went to the movies.

This is a comma-splice error.

RIGHT: The boys went to the game; the girls went to the movies.

Note the use of a semicolon instead of a comma. Use it sparingly as it will tend to catch the reader's eye. Best used for dramatic impact: "She walked in; I walked out." Can be used in fairly long, compound-complex sentences, but consider if it might not be better to break it up into two shorter sentences.

The most common compound sentences use a comma plus a coordinating conjunction to join the two independent clauses together.

The boys went to the game, and the girls went to the movies.

The boys went to the game, so the girls went to the movies.

There are seven coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. You can remember them as “FANBOYS”.

Note: you must have the comma; otherwise, you have created a run-on sentence error.

WRONG: The boys went to the game and the girls went to the movies.

(Note that in informal writing, the comma isn't needed for very short sentences: "I laughed and she cried." You could get away with this in fiction writing, but not in a formal term paper.)

However, if you use two coordinating conjunctions, you do not need the comma.

RIGHT: The boys went to the game and so the girls went to the movies.

Another way to combine two independent clauses is by use of a semicolon, a conjunctive adverb (or phrase), and a comma.

The boys went to the game; therefore, the girls went to the movies.

The boys went to the game; however, the girls went to the movies.

The boys went to the game; in the meantime, the girls went to the movies.

Isn't the English language fun?

I'm sorry if I have offended anyone. Between comma-splice and run-on errors, I figure these two may make up 80% of the gramma errors in fan-fic stories, not just here but on all fan-fic sites. For me, when my eye hits those, my brain skips a beat. It's very distracting.


Anyone else have a pet peeve that you want to mention? That is to say, any pet peeves not about grammar cops, of course!

Last edited by Sgt_G; August 3 2013 at 08:43 AM.
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