Re: Comma splices

Subject: Re: Comma splices
From: Nora Merhar <merhar -at- YOOPER -dot- SWITCH -dot- ROCKWELL -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 13:41:36 -0600

Brad Barnes (T) wrote:

> >
> > Well, we all know that comma splices are bad, right? Perhaps not. Or
> > perhaps it is not clear what counts as a comma splice. I note what I regard
> > as s disturbing trend in regarding constructions with comma splices as
> > grammatically
> > acceptable. I wonder how far this has gone, and what your feelings are
> > this. Consider ...
> >
Brad Barnes wrote

> <snip>
> I believe that likewise,
> >
> > First select "Edit", and then "Cut".
> >
> > is okay.
> >
> <snip>

> Why even put a comma in the example above? You have two objects sharing one
> verb.

> When I get confused about commas, I reduce the sentence to its basic elements
> before I analyse it. I remove any adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional
> phrases, for example:

> Select Edit and Cut.

> Clearly, no commas are needed here. Why would commas belong in the example
> above?

> Brad Barnes
> Technical Writer

Well, the sentence was pretty bad to begin with, but your rewrite made
it even more confusing. In the above sentence, you could be telling your
user to

a. Cut Edit
b. Select Edit and Cut at the same time
c. Select Edit and then select Cut

The original intention of the sentence, from what I could see, was to
"Select Edit; then select Cut." Your rewrite just gave your user two
more options (possibly more, since interpretation can vary widely
from user to user).

IMHO, the sentence should be written as I wrote it in the previous
paragraph. HOWEVER, if Cut was under the Edit menu, I would write it
as "Select Edit-->Cut" which is the accepted convention in our manuals.


Nora Merhar | Opinions expressed here are strictly my
merhar -at- switch -dot- rockwell -dot- com | own. They do not represent the opinions
| of Rockwell or Switching Systems division.

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