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  1. #1
    Joseph Watson
    Guest

    Rules for Writing

    I came across this the other day and thought it would be a good addition to one\'s library.


    <A HREF=\"http://www.junketstudies.com/rulesofw/\">Rules for Writing</A>

    1. To join two independent clauses, use a comma followed by a conjunction, a semicolon alone, or a semicolon followed by a sentence modifier.

    2. Use commas to bracket nonrestrictive phrases, which are not essential to the sentence\'s meaning.

    3. Do not use commas to bracket phrases that are essential to a sentence\'s meaning.

    4. When beginning a sentence with an introductory phrase or an introductory (dependent) clause, include a comma.

    5. To indicate possession, end a singular noun with an apostrophe followed by an \"s\". Otherwise, the noun\'s form seems plural.

    6. Use proper punctuation to integrate a quotation into a sentence. If the introductory material is an independent clause, add the quotation after a colon. If the introductory material ends in \"thinks,\" \"saying,\" or some other verb indicating expression, use a comma.

    7. Make the subject and verb agree with each other, not with a word that comes between them.

    8. Be sure that a pronoun, a participial phrase, or an appositive refers clearly to the proper subject.

    9. Use parallel construction to make a strong point and create a smooth flow.

    10. Use the active voice unless you specifically need to use the passive.

    11. Omit unnecessary words.



  2. #2
    Mya Bell
    Guest

    Re: Rules for Writing

    1. To join two independent clauses, use a comma followed by a conjunction, a semicolon alone, or a semicolon followed by a sentence modifier.

    Hmmm, I dunno if I agree completely agree with number 1 the way it's stated. I can see incidences where a comma might separate independent clauses, but they are rare and then the rest of the sentence is grammatically questionable (see dialog example below).


    A conjunction is a joining word (examples include and, but, however).

    Commas are not usually used to <u>join</u> independent clauses. They are used to <u>separate</u> dependent clauses, especially lists.

    To join independent cluases, you use a semicolon or, sometimes (but less often), an em dash.

    According to the "rule" above, you would do this:

    I have a dog. His name is Ruff.

    I have a dog, and his name is Ruff. [comma plus conjunction]


    You wouldn't say:

    I have a dog, but [or however] his name is Ruff. [comma plus other conjunction]


    Okay, the first one, with "and" might happen in dialog but it's not good grammar, so it would have to be justified as dialog from someone semi-literate or with a regional speech pattern. More correctly, you would say:

    I have a dog; his name is Ruff.

    or

    I have a dog---his name is Ruff.

    Whether you use a semicolon or an em dash depends upon context, the publisher's preferences (some of them don't like semicolons in fiction) and the length of the pause. Em dashes tend to be used more often to separate dependent clauses with long pauses rather than independent clauses, so, in the above example, I would lean toward using a semicolon rather than an em dash.


    If I were to restate number 1 above, I would say:

    1. To join independent clauses, use a semicolon or, less commonly an em dash, if it is a long pause. In rare incidences in dialog, independent clauses may be combined with a comma followed by a conjunction.


    --- Mya Bell

  3. #3
    Mya Bell
    Guest

    Re: Rules for Writing

    I'm trying to think of examples in which a phrase starting with a conjunction would be considered an independent clause so that the above rule makes sense, but the problem is the way it's worded is misleading.

    I don't care who wrote the rule, whether it's Strunk and White or Roget or whoever; it points people in the wrong direction by misrepresenting priorities in the way it's stated.


    Conjunctions (joining words) include words like but, however, and, or, neither ...


    If you say:

    I have a dog. His name is Ruff.


    You can see that:

    I have a dog, and his name is Ruff.

    is grammatically questionable and

    I have a dog, but his name is Ruff.

    is unacceptable because it changes the meaning of the two original sentences.


    Thus, in the normal course of writing, you wouldn't use a comma plus conjunction to join two independent clauses and the rule stated in the original post implies that this is the common and accepted way of doing it.


    Let's take another example that would fit better.

    The cook knew the pork was underdone. He served it anyway.


    In this case, you could join the two independent clauses by writing:

    [i]The cook knew the pork was underdone; he served it anyway.

    or

    The cook knew the pork was underdone, but he served it anyway.

    In this case, the rule applies, but it seems to generally refer to statements in which the second part negates something in the first.

    So, if the conjunction is "and" you get a grammatically questionable composite sentence, but if you use a negating conjunction like "but" or "however" then rule number 1 starts to make sense.


    So, how do you state that without making it overly complicated?

    How about this as a possibility:

    1. To join independent clauses, use a semicolon or, less commonly an em dash, if it is a long pause. If the second clause negates something in the first with conjunctions such as "but" or "however," the clauses may be joined with a comma followed by the conjunction. In rare incidences in dialog, independent clauses may be combined with a comma followed by a nonnegating conjunction such as "and."


    I know there's some value in stating things simply, but if you oversimplify, you often lose accuracy. Rule number 1 as originally stated is misleading, in my opinion. If misrepresets priorities (doesn't list the most common usage first) and doesn't specify the context for using conjunctions correctly as joining words with commas. My humble suggestion for a restated rule may be a bit longer but I feel it's more accurate.

    --- Mya Bell

  4. #4
    jayce
    Guest

    Re: Rules for Writing

    Mya: you said--

    I have a dog, and his name is Ruff.

    is grammatically questionable.

    -------
    How so?

  5. #5
    Mya Bell
    Guest

    Re: Rules for Writing

    It's a bit of a loaded question, since in some areas, people speak this way.

    From a tradition point of view, however, the "and" is redundant and not considered "proper" speech. If you used it in an essay or in academic writing, the editor would probably draw a line through it and suggest it be made into two sentences or be separated with a semicolon.

    In dialog, it makes sense to use it if the speaker talks that way.

    --- Mya Bell

  6. #6
    Beautiful Loser
    Guest

    Re: Rules for Writing

    Re: Rules for Writing
    Author: jayce (---.mob.bellsouth.net)
    Date: 06-28-07 14:40

    Mya: you said--

    I have a dog, and his name is Ruff.

    is grammatically questionable.

    -------
    How so?

    Most people I know speak this way, and most writers I know also use the comma, because it either delineates a pause of thought, or it replaces the use of "and" when used in a written context.

  7. #7
    Mya Bell
    Guest

    Re: Rules for Writing

    Most people I know don't speak this way. Not only are many of these speech patterns regional (eh? in the northwest and y'all in the southeast, etc. ), but there's always been a discontinuity between what's acceptable in speech and what's acceptable in writing.


    For example, in speech, people frequently use dangling participles. Many people would say:

    Calling for attention, the crowd pulled the orator off the soapbox.

    This is especially true if the orator has been discussed in the foregoing conversation.

    We usually understand what is meant. The orator is the one looking for attention, but, technically the sentence is misleading since it sounds like the crowd is calling for attention.

    One way to remove the ambiguity, is to write:

    When he called for attention, the crowd pulled the orator off the soapbox.


    I suspect there will always be differents between spoken and written words and regional differences in what's grammatically common or acceptable.

    --- Mya Bell

  8. #8
    Beautiful Loser
    Guest

    Re: Rules for Writing

    The above sentence would probably be considered a run-on by some, and I very well could have created two or more sentences. I preferred not to, simply because I don't like choppy or bulleted language structure. Then, again, I am often guilty of speaking either parenthetically, or at verbatim length, depending on the subject matter.

    I had a dog.

    His name is Ruff.

    A child would be bored with those last two sentences.

  9. #9
    Mya Bell
    Guest

    Re: Rules for Writing

    "differences"

  10. #10
    Beautiful Loser
    Guest

    Re: Rules for Writing

    I suspect there will always be differents between spoken and written words and regional differences in what's grammatically common or acceptable.

    --- Mya Bell

    Exactly; as with your last two examples, no thought was lost, and we know exactly what was going on, and regardless of the use of "Calling" or "When" preceding danglings, the comma was used.

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