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cool user name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:11 AM
Original message
Grammar Question!!!
Grammar Nazis, man your battlestations! Incoming!


Please critique the falling sentence:

I'd ask you to reconsider, but it seems like you've made up your mind.

Is the comma necessary or appropriate? I know the conjunction "but" links the two sentences but wouldn't the comma, in this case, link two separate clauses?

Also, if you have other useful tips on appropriate comma placement, that would be just super!

Thanks! :hi:
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:14 AM
Response to Original message
1. IMO it's greatly preferable in your context, but not absolutely mandatory...
... The reason, in my mind, why it's preferable (a) because it better models speech, which seems to be what's sought after here, and (b) it highlights the pragmatic difference between "but" and "and" - which are semantically similar.
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Norquist Nemesis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:15 AM
Response to Original message
2. Falling sentence? LOL!
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 08:34 AM by Norquist Nemesis
Comma after the 'but'.

on edit: OOPS! I broke rule #4. Comma before is correct.

http://depts.dyc.edu/learningcenter/owl/comma_placement...
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shain from kane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:15 AM
Response to Original message
3. It's "following", not "falling".
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YOY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:16 AM
Response to Original message
4. Nothing to do with commas but 'like' is overused
If I may be overly critical, I would use 'that' or 'as though' in place of like.

Offhand your comma placement looks fine to me, but I'm no 'Elements of Style' as cannon fellow. Mebbe I'm wrong.

You have two clauses with subject verb object and they look kosher.

Besides, is this for an academic work, or simply for casual posting/writing?
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:17 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. Speaking you might say 'like', but in writing 'as though' is better. nt
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cool user name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #4
13. Thanks for your input ...
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 08:21 AM by cool user name
It was actually a response to a date cancellation. A girl cancelled on me. Just wanted to make sure that my response was at least grammatically correct.

:D
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YOY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:27 AM
Response to Reply #13
21. There are plenty of fish in the sea
It's her loss.

:toast:
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cool user name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #21
25. That's where I met her!
Was plentyoffish.com

Too funny!
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NV Whino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:16 AM
Response to Original message
5. I tend to go with
the "natural pause" approach to grammar. Therefore, the comma should remain. However, you might want to change "like" to "likely that," or "as if."
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:16 AM
Response to Original message
6. It's a matter of judgment. No hard and fast rule here. nt
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:17 AM
Response to Original message
7. leave out "like" n/t
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Coyote_Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:18 AM
Response to Original message
9. It is fine as is but
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 08:19 AM by Coyote_Bandit
the comma is not necessary and personally I would add the word "already" before "made."

I'd ask you to reconsider but it seems you've already made up your mind.

on edit: forgot to mention that I would completely strike "like"
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MannyGoldstein Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:18 AM
Response to Original message
10. My Own Personal Rule
I believe that written language is an attempt to re-create spoken language. Towards that end, I add a comma wherever I would pause when saying a sentence. Thus, I'd leave the comma where you have it.

(Believe it or not, my Verbal SAT was at the 99th percentile using this rule of thumb - so it's probably not totally off.)
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Coyote_Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:23 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. I also
follow the same rule. My GMAT verbal scores were comparable.

Unfortunately I am not always a disciplined writer and sometimes my sentences are too complex and long.....
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cool user name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:25 AM
Response to Reply #10
16. Thank you, MannyGoldstein.
I've received very civil responses and for that, I appreciate it.

Thanks to all who've made suggestions!
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JustABozoOnThisBus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:19 AM
Response to Original message
11. The comma looks fine ..
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 08:22 AM by JustABozoOnThisBus
, but I'd probably change "like" to "that", or just drop the word.


edited: But, i'm like the 10th person to, like, say that. :)

Regards.
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cool user name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:26 AM
Response to Reply #11
18. LOL ...
Yeah, well I have already sent it so I'm, like, totally fucked!

:D
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rurallib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:20 AM
Response to Original message
12. You forgot the "fuck you" on the end.
That would make the sentence complete.
BTW - no comma
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AnnInLa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:22 AM
Response to Original message
14. From a teacher
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 08:24 AM by AnnInLa
I'm a teacher....of math....that's why I can't spell or write gramatically correct sentences. But, I know, that unless the whole sentence is very short, you do put a comma before the conjunction in a compound sentence....and usually in a complex sentence. If my students are trying to write a paper or paragraph for a grade, I tell them to read their sentences very slowly to themselves, and where they feel a natural pause, then stick a comma in there.

If you choose not to use the conjunction in a compound sentence, then put a semi-colon.

P.S. The word "like" should be, but doesn't have to be, replaced with "as if." (for formal writing)
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Eurobabe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:25 AM
Response to Original message
17. Leave the comma, but change the 'like' to 'as if'
just my .02euro cents (which is worth .06 cents USD)
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:26 AM
Response to Original message
19. How to join sentences:
First of all, a group of words is a sentence if it has a subject and a verb that has time on it (present, past, or future to make it easy). It also has to be able to stand alone and not have any kind of linking word(s) to make it a clause.

The first part, "I'd ask you to reconsider," is a sentence. It has a subject ("I") and a verb with time on it ("d ask"), and there are no works linking it to anything else. The second part, "it seems like you've made up your mind," is also a sentence. It has a subject ("it") and a verb with time on it ("seems").

When you have to join sentences, you have four options:
______________ , conjunction (and, but, or, for) ______________ .

______________ ; __________________ . (both sentences are equal and can be joined equally)

______________ : __________________ . (the colon tells the reader that the second part is more important than the first part)

______________ ; linking word (however, in addition, furthermore, etc.) , ______________ .


There are some other ways, but these were the ones I taught my students that are the most common and easy to understand.
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cool user name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #19
23. Excellent feedback. I knew ...
... that I had to stand alone sentences (didn't know about the time thing).

That was very informative. Thanks for posting, knitter4democracy.

:hi:
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:23 PM
Response to Reply #23
32. My pleasure. It was fun.
I haven't taught that stuff in a long time, so I'm sure it wasn't as clear as I could've made it.

The time thing comes from sentence string theory (I think that's what it was called) from Noam Chomsky. He is brilliant in so many ways. :)
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tanyev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:27 AM
Response to Original message
20. Looks good to me. You should go to the National Grammar Rodeo.
:)
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cool user name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #20
24. LOL ...
Hello fellow Texan!
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:29 AM
Response to Original message
22. Keep the comma, drop the passive, drop the "like", drop the contractions
I would ask you to reconsider, but you seem to have made up your mind.

(however, even though this is in response to a formal invitation and thus contractions should not be used, it sounds awful, so I would tells the rules to sod off and use the contractions).


And, if you must keep the passive (it does have a certain flair, and I might be tempted to use it),

I'd ask you to reconsider, but it seems you've made up your mind.

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RoBear Donating Member (781 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:50 AM
Response to Reply #22
28. Former university comp instructor here,
and my sense is that the comma IS necessary.

However, the last suggestion in Post 22 is my idea of writing elegance...
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ProdigalJunkMail Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:30 AM
Response to Original message
26. Elements of Style
Place a comma before and or but introducing an independent clause.

The early records of the city have disappeared, and the story of its first years can no longer be reconstructed.
The situation is perilous, but there is still one chance of escape.

Sentences of this type, isolated from their context, may seem to be in need of rewriting. As they make complete sense when the comma is reached, the second clause has the appearance of an after-thought.

sP
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nealmhughes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:37 AM
Response to Original message
27. Is it a written formal statement or a colloquial dialog that is being repeated?
Formally I'd write:

I would ask you to reconsider, but your mind is made up, it seems.

In speech, were I not in a pulpit, exactly like you wrote it.

We have so many varieties of English: Uber formal, formal, colloquial, and vernacular! English is grand ain't it! or is that a ?... or is that "English is grand! Is it not?"
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:56 AM
Response to Original message
29. Don't listen to the "it's not mandatory" comments.
You need to have the comma before the "but". It is a coordinating conjunction linking two independent clauses. There needs to be a comma before the conjunction. I can give you multiple references for this, but the one that sits on my desk is The Scott Foresman Handbook for Writers, page 454.

Yes, I am an English teacher.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #29
33. Hey, English teacher!
:hi:

I used to teach high school English. I stopped when we had kids (Hubby in med school, I made too little to justify staying in), and I'm thinking about getting my master's. Thank you for teaching, thank you for staying in there, and thank you for working so hard.

The best quote I ever heard was from the Sharon Draper, National Teacher of the Year in 1997: "English teachers teach reading, writing, thinking, and dreaming."

:yourock:
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flordehinojos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:18 AM
Response to Original message
30. In Diana Hacker's, A WRITER'S REFERENCE, Fourth Edition, there is this about commas:
"The comma was invented to help readers. Without it, sentence parts can collide into one another unexpectedly, causing misreadings.

CONFUSING: If you cook Elmer will do the dishes.

CONFUSING: While we were eating a rattlesnake approached our campsite.

Add commas in the logical places (after cook and eating), and suddenly all is clear. No longer is Elmer being cooked, the rattlesnakes being eaten.

Various rules have evolved to prevent such misreadings and to speed readers along through complex grammatical structures, those rules are detailed in this section.

P1-a USE A COMMA BEFORE A COORDINATING CONJUNCTION JOINING INDEPENDENT CLAUSES.

When a coordinating conjunction connects two or more independent clauses--word groups that could stand alone as separate sentences--a comma must precede it. There are seven coordinating conjunctions in English: and, but, or, nor, for, so, and yet.

A comma tells readers that one independent clause has come to a close and that another is about to begin.

EXCEPTIONS: if the two independent clauses are short and there is no danger of misreading, the comma may be omitted."

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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:23 AM
Response to Original message
31. For Common Purposes Your Sentence Was Perfectly Fine.
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Writer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:28 PM
Response to Original message
34. I am a pro-comma writer.
Therefore, I think your sentence reads well. :D
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pink-o Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:56 PM
Response to Original message
35. The golden rule I learned about commas..
When in doubt, leave it out.

But personally, I believe it belongs in your sentence.

You all know this joke, right? (and it's the title of a book now.)

A Panda walks into a bar. He sits down on the stool and orders a plate of nachos. After inhaling the food, he then pulls a gun from a holster, fires a shot into the ceiling, and heads for the door.

The bartender leaps over the bar, grabs the Panda by the arm and bellows: "What the hell was that about? Why did you fire a gun off in my bar?"

The Panda meets his gaze and declares: "I'm a Panda. It's what I do. You can read it in Wikipedia: A Panda eats, shoots, and leaves."

So you see how important comma placement is???
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