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Author Topic: Commas (to be or not to be)
EmmaSohan
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
Wanted commas and other punctuation are often left out to minimize bumpy flow.

Example?

It turns out, commas play too many roles, and if you get too many playing too many roles, they get confusing. Example: His face was heavily wrinkled, savaged by time, four packs of menthols a day, a poor diet, and most of all a bitter sense of injustice.

(four things cause his face to be savaged)

So, when the comma isn't needed to divide things up, because the reader can do it anyway, they are often dropped, at least for introductory phrases.

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extrinsic
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The other polysyndeton Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea citation misses many otherwise wanted commas, for the sakes' of stream-of-consciousness stream flow and emotion. Readers might or might not realize natural pauses instead of apt punctuation signals, and, worse, be confused or misinterpret and confuse intended meaning. Commas number a hundred or so distinct functions, one in common: separation for clarity and read and comprehension ease.

"The line rose slowly and steadily[,] and then the surface of the ocean bulged ahead of the boat[,] and the fish came out. He came out unendingly[,] and water poured from his sides. He was bright in the sun[,] and his head and back were dark purple[,] and[,] in the sun[,] the stripes on his sides showed wide and a light lavender. His sword was as long as a baseball bat and tapered like a rapier[,] and he rose his full length from the water and then re-entered it, smoothly, like a diver[,] and the old man saw the great scythe-blade of his tail go under[,] and the line commenced to race out."

"His face was heavily wrinkled, savaged by time, four packs of menthols a day, a poor diet, and most of all a bitter sense of injustice." The Target, David Baldacci, 2014. (Please responsibly attribute cited content for best practice and due per Fair Use Doctrine and Hatrack's rules.)

Asyndenton is the figure there; the medial two commas substitute punctuation for serial list word "and." The first comma is more aptly suited to a colon's "as follows" list setup punctuation. An informal dash could substitute for the colon. The fourth comma journalism style omits altogether, though not per several prose and formal composition styles. "most of all," a superlative parenthetical aside, nonrestrictive, medial, relative phrase, wants comma separation also.

//His face was heavily wrinkled: savaged by time, four packs of menthols a day, a poor diet, and, most of all, a bitter sense of injustice.//

More casual-informal for stream flow, affect force, and stronger emotion, polysyndeton:

//His face was heavily wrinkled and savaged by time and four packs of menthols a day and a poor diet and a bitter sense of injustice most of all.//

[ January 08, 2019, 09:29 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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EmmaSohan
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If the author had written:
quote:
His face was heavily wrinkled, savaged by time.
I don't know how anyone could complain or say the comma should be replaced with a dash. Same for
quote:
His face was heavily wrinkled, savaged by time and four packs of menthols a day.
But when a third item is added to the list, comma confusion is created:
quote:
His face was heavily wrinkled, savaged by time, four packs of menthols a day, and a poor diet.
This is no less grammatical than the previous sentences; there is no reason to suspect the author prefers a longer break between wrinkled and savaged.

Yet you suggested changing the comma to a color or dash.

That -- changing the comma to a different break that otherwise might not be as desirable -- is one of the basic techniques for avoiding comma confusion.

[ January 09, 2019, 09:38 PM: Message edited by: EmmaSohan ]

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extrinsic
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The first comma confuses meaning, that and the adjectival superlative, relative clause, "most of all," is misplaced or wants comma separation.

Whether that first comma wants colon or dash substitution or the sentence altogether recast, asks little about punctuation desirability, rather, wants concision, read and comprehend ease, expression strength; tension, force, and emotion movement; and narrative distance considerations.

Noah Lukeman, A Dash of Style, 2006 is the foremost U.S. dialect creative writers' text about punctuation's manifold discretions, aesthetics, and strengths, of a peer-to-peer descriptive register. Next, perhaps, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, Lynne Truss, 2003, though leans British dialect, journalism style, and superior-to-subordinate imperative register.

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Grumpy old guy
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extrinsic touches on regional differences, but the British/Commonwealth treatment of the comma, among other things, makes a definitive ruling like trying to herd cats. And let's not get into pronunciation differences: how do you say aluminium?

Phil.

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extrinsic
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I've noted that the several dozen comma or other punctuation usage principles might self-contradict; however, if a group of different principles applies, a navigation of those reconciles to an unequivocal best practice per composition discipline. More often than otherwise, a rewrite, for simplification, clarity, and strength, is signaled, indicated, and wanted.

[ January 10, 2019, 08:34 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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EmmaSohan
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
Commas number a hundred or so distinct functions, one in common: separation for clarity and read and comprehension ease.

In my chapter called "Split Personality", I argue that the comma has two faces. One is what you said: separation. The comma physically separates, convention or no.

The other is simply as a symbol in a rule-based grammar. Which you also mention. A website on grammar will describe all of the rules and perhaps never mention separation.

And there's the funny thing that we use commas to separate very tightly coupled words, such as Denver, Colorado. The English language would be a lot easier to read if we simply used a tilde for those commas:

His face was heavily wrinkled, savaged by time ~ four packs of menthols a day ~ a poor diet ~ and most of all a bitter sense of injustice.

Then the comma would be a much more reliable guide to separation, and comma confusion would be reduced. Obviously, that's not going to happen. So, like extrinsic said, we just have to be aware of all the potential problems, all the potential solutions, and the chose the best one.

My father, Vince, and my friend came to visit.

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extrinsic
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A tilde means approximate or roughly about equal to yay much quantity or quality, or traditionally to mark omitted glyphs for abbreviation, dõ, or ditto, Ã Dñi, or Ano Domini, or mark loan word pronunciation variants, long vowels or soft consonant diacritics apart from standard pronunciations, ãronaut (aeronaut), piñon nut, to mark a rough numerical or item range instead of an en dash or word equivalent to "through" or "to," 13 ~ 18, among a multitude of tilde functions.

Grammar is a principles and guidelines set; some would dictate a grammar is laws; others allow a grammar is rules. At some early developmental ages, those latter two are necessary and convenient fictions. A grammar also is a tacit social contract to be of mutual understanding, read, hear, view, speak, and comprehension ease. Tildes substituted for serial commas contravene that contract and principle. Soon or late, experienced writers realize a grammar is more or less a set of social guidelines, really.

Place name coupled labels also rely on comma separation for clarity, read and comprehension ease, human and machine read. Postal mail address label, some line separation also, as per verse:

Jane Smith
101-B Memory Lane
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Though mail to apartment addresses like that go awry. U.S. Post Office address style guidance:

Jane Smith
101 Memory Lane Apt B
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

or

Jane Smith
101 Memory Lane
Apt B
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Same linear per prose principles:

Jane Smith, 101-B Memory Lane, Beverly Hills, California 90210.

For separation nonetheless. Granted in-print and online punctuation guidelines rarely, if ever, observe the sole and common comma function is separation, all punctuation for that matter, post classic Rome and Latin subsequent innovations.

This is a comma separation error:

"My father, Vince, and my friend came to visit."

"My father," title label, and "Vince" are restrictive to each other, or not, confuses whether father and Vince are one person or two.

//My father and Vince and my friend came to visit.//
//Dad, Vince, and my friend came to visit.//
//My father Vince and my friend came to visit.// Unambiguous.

This is still ambiguous though per comma subsequent title label separation guidelines:

//Vince, my father, and my friend came to visit.//

Or clarity from conjunctive adverb word inserts:

//Vince, my father, _that is,_ and my friend came to visit.// Unambiguous.

Or dashes instead:

//Vince -- my father, that is -- and my friend came to visit.// Unambiguous.

//Fire chief Vince and my friend came to visit.// Unambiguous.

These are unambiguous and evidence the power of comma separation:

//Fire chief Doherty, my father Vince, and my friend came to visit.//

//Vince Doherty, Compton fire chief, and my friend came to visit.//

Worth note hundreds of years and many proposed punctuation marks never caught on, enough at present marks for all separation and vocal intonation semiotic cue functions, separation and pause, inquiry, indication, command, conditional, and exclamation, full stop. An irony mark is the most common proposal, the interobang, ‽, or script's convention !? And conventional Spanish's sentence start inverted exclamation mark, ¡, and question mark, ¿, for similar English and French stage direction-like vocal intonation signals.

[ January 11, 2019, 03:08 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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EmmaSohan
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extrinsic, I think you would really like my other grammar book.

We have conventions for making words, and if you break those conventions, it's just chaos. We have conventions for forming phrases, and same.

Then we have conventions for combining phrases, and those get broken all the time. We never needed those conventions, and they get in the way. Same for lists, I guess.

From my modern grammar book:
quote:
I had a dream once, and in it were Hemingway and Dickens and Faulkner and Crichton and Evanovich and a few other authors I didn't recognize. In the dream, Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter had just been published, and they were reading it, marveling at the power and complexity of the grammar. They all agreed that, after hundreds of years of developing grammar, perfection had been reached.

But then Faulkner, I'm pretty sure, said what they were all thinking: "But it's really difficult to understand." And they all nodded. Hemingway said it best: "This grammar **** doesn't work." And then they all started discussing ways to write that would be more meaningful, but no one was listening to anyone else, and they were all talking at once, so I couldn't understand what anyone was saying. Then I woke up.


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extrinsic
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I sampled the whole site and found that, if a topic is grammar, or the main subject, if the grammar is clumsy and about grammar, at times contravenes itself, trust is compromised.

Hemingway, Dickens, Faulkner, Crichton, Evanovich, whomever, each worked from the grammar whatever family home, primary, secondary, or post secondary school taught them. None built upon what they learned; many fixed at this far yay and no farther than around eighth grade level expectations. Across the land, a number of grammar condition sets at homes and schools likewise depend on who, where, when, what, and from which those developed grammar basics.

Grumpy old guy's observation that a definitive grammar is like trying to herd cats is valid, yet the first principle of grammar, accessible, understandable, readable, and comprehensible expression ease, prevails.

Hemingway's grammar fixed at eighth grade, because, thereafter, his high school English education was vocational journalism, of which he favored sportswriter style, was a high school publications editor, became a cub copywriter for a midwest city daily newspaper, first job, soon quit, attempted and failed to enlist in a military service, rejected due to poor eyesight, went to Europe and drove battlefield ambulances to satisfy his want for adventure, from there, was a latecomer to the Parisian Lost Generation writers' circle, copied their English grammar, which varied little from his native high school grammar, especially copied, at times adversary, at times mentor, Faulkner. Though Hemingway's noteworthy aesthetic is minimalism, he also adopted Faulkner's at times voluble expression mannerisms, as in The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway was loathe to be compared to anyone, least of all Faulkner. His cult of masculinity demanded his own prominent place on the winners' podium.

Journalism style favors page content space conservation so more add space fits, omits wanted punctuation, downstyles expression overall, oversimplifies diction, syntax all over creation, generally excises any "fat." The Associated Press Style Guide perpetuates that sensibility to this day. Hemingway and many others' prose composition favors journalism style.

Yet prose wants less, if any, downstyled style, wants lavish leisure and opulent, strong, clear expression for concise, vivid, lustrous, and lively expression at least. Not -- well, journalism's space consciousness adapted for convenient habit laziness.

Innovation is another matter, based upon reliable grammar principles, okay. Deviations, though, want reader familiarity for accessible, understandable, readable, comprehensible clarity and strength. Elsewise, written word will continue to fall further behind visual media content preeminence -- which uses little, if any, punctuation, or distinction for homonyms or compound words. Speech is by its nature improvisational, extemporaneous, and messy, often recursive and discursive, clumsy stream of consciousness, and ephemeral. Visual media "grammar" is, therefore, a poor example for prose writers to copy, yet a dominant influence, especially for Millennials.

Elsewise? A dictionary word? Nope, though a recent and obscure coin, innovation not per moi. An understandable, readable, comprehensible word at first blush? A synonym for otherwise? Affected posture? Who decides? Readers, given that a writer concisely expresses meaning and intent behind the word, any word, sentence, paragraph, composition, yada.

[ January 11, 2019, 10:34 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Grumpy old guy
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If you are indeed interested in how and why grammar works, check out this book: Oxford Modern English Grammar by Bas Aarts.

It's about why we have certain 'rules' which guide how we write, and speak and the principles underpinning them. Technical as all get out.

Phil.

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EmmaSohan
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Hi Phil. Before I look too hard, there are about a thousand books describing the standard rules of grammar. Websites too. I always say that if someone was going to read four books on grammar, one should be a traditional grammar book.

In my book, I am pretty clear about the standard rules of grammar. Whether the reader is interested in that or not.

What answer do they give on whether answers to questions are fragments? That's kind of a sign that someone has at least thought about the issue.

Or does it mention putting a period after each word in the sentence? That's a marker for which century they are writing for.

I will try to look it up. Thanks!

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extrinsic
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Tens of thousands of grammar handbooks and style manuals in print and untold numbers of online texts.

Sentence fragment responses to questions are covered in some of the above. Questions and Q & A dialogue entail different syntax than other expression, also covered in some of the above.

Period separated single words went fast from huh? to oh! to cliché due to overuse, misuse, dilution, and outworn triteness.

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EmmaSohan
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quote:
Originally posted by Grumpy old guy:
If you are indeed interested in how and why grammar works, check out this book: Oxford Modern English Grammar by Bas Aarts.

It's about why we have certain 'rules' which guide how we write, and speak and the principles underpinning them. Technical as all get out.

Phil.

It looks interesting and useful. (From the description: "What is the relationship between a matrix clause and a subordinate clause?")

Thanks. I am thinking of buying it.

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EmmaSohan
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And, looking up matrix clause, I was already thinking about that this week. When you write (I think ___) and the part that comes next is just one clause, there's no grammar problem. But if it's two clauses then any effort to separate them will tend to move the second clause away from "I think".

I have also played with solutions in my writing, such as "I think -- [clauses]" or "I think: [clauses]" But everything I construct seems too awkward/unfamiliar.

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EmmaSohan
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:

Period separated single words went fast from huh? to oh! to cliché due to overuse, misuse, dilution, and outworn triteness.

I think: That happens for everything powerful. The standard form for simile is misused and diluted so much that one might avoid it when there's a good alternative. But sometimes it's the only way to go.

Adverbs have this problem. The interesting first sentence has this problem. The three word paragraph has this problem.

But we don't avoid all similes, adverbs, interesting first sentences, short paragraphs, and all-period sentences just because sometimes they have been overused and misused.

Because they can be powerful. And useful.
quote:
That. Is. Huge.
Jan. 9 internet news
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extrinsic
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Oxford Modern English Grammar by Bas Aarts is a derivation from Noam Chomsky's linguistic theories, "linguistics" emphasized, rather than a "grammar," per se. Linguistics emphasizes word, phrase, and clause constructs, cognitive function, and meaning, and little, if any, punctuation and other grammar substance. The sense of linguistics at present is how ordinary speech and language use shape a language, not a proscriptive or prescriptive linguistics, rather a descriptive linguistics.

Proscriptive disallows words such as gonna, wanna, ain't, gettin'; prescriptive allows context relative uses of such. Descriptive judges only whether such uses are apt, in use, and of read and comprehension ease. Or likewise for a larger syntax unit, clauses or sentences that end with a preposition, for example, or conjunction starts or syntax expletives.

Attributed to Churchill though not supported, for example: "This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put." Proscriptive, about syntax acrobatics to avoid a preposition end and clunky and unnatural. //This is the sort of bloody nonsense with which I will not put up.// Prescriptive, and realizes "up" is not a preposition, per se, rather, a particle part of the two word verb. Particles are either a preposition or adverb part of a two or more word verb. (Particle definition and usage not in linguistics texts, comprehensive grammar texts, yes.) Or descriptive, due to common, natural usage and read and comprehension ease: //This is the sort of bloody nonsense I will not put up with.// Three-word verb, "put up with."

Noted recently, Rudyard Kipling, "If" starts from a conjunction. Proscriptive says no, prescriptive says think again, descriptive says apt, in use, and read and comprehension ease.

Common syntax expletive uses start sentences with a pronoun of no antecedent, proximal, or overall subject referent: it, there, and they, the proverbial "they." It is raining today. There are few good causes anymore. They built the Industrial Age. Proscriptive says absolutely not; prescriptive says, uh, well, recast; descriptive says may be okay, depends on context, texture, and audience.

Yet a grammar for written-word composition includes punctuation and other constructive construction descriptive guidance, which linguistics largely overlook.

One overwrought term from Chomsky, et al, about word formation is "inflectional," an adverb, inflected, and affected. "Inflected" is simpler, of long use, natural, and read and comprehension ease. Strunk and White say think again.

Inflected refers to words that take different forms from a standard formation, often verbs, due to tense or number, sometimes a suffix or affix inflect. To be, am, is, are, was, were, etc. Many other overwrought words among Chomsky's publications and Oxford Modern English Grammar by Bas Aarts.

Matrix clause is a linguistics term for an independent or main clause. A subordinate clause is a catchall linguistics term for any dependent clause, though confuses whether a dependent clause is a subordinate, coordinate, correlative, relative, or contradiction clause, or confuses compound sentences' likewise dual or more independent clauses though one independent clause is preeminent emphasis.

The matrix clause concept, however, is useful in terms of embedded dependent words, phrases, and clauses. Example: I thought you said, in 2016, actually, while at work in the slaughterhouse, you broke your arm. The independent clause is "You broke your arm." The matrix clause is "you said you broke your arm." "I thought" and "you said" are antecedent, or prefatory, dependent clauses. "in 2016" is a dependent embedded adjective phrase. "actually" is a dependent embedded conjunctive adverb word. "while at work in the slaughterhouse," is a dependent embedded clause.

Several language arts and sciences differ from linguistics principles and theories, too: semiotics, semantics, and rhetoric.

Oxford Modern English Grammar by Bas Aarts is economical at low $$ and of sound, comprehensive contemporary linguistics theories. A genuine comprehensive grammar handbook is wanted, too: The Little, Brown Handbook, twelfth edition, comes close, about eight-tenths comprehensive, though high $$.

[ January 12, 2019, 09:09 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by EmmaSohan:
quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
Period separated single words went fast from huh? to oh! to cliché due to overuse, misuse, dilution, and outworn triteness.

I think: That happens for everything powerful. The standard form for simile is misused and diluted so much that one might avoid it when there's a good alternative. But sometimes it's the only way to go.

Adverbs have this problem. The interesting first sentence has this problem. The three word paragraph has this problem.

But we don't avoid all similes, adverbs, interesting first sentences, short paragraphs, and all-period sentences just because sometimes they have been overused and misused.

Because they can be powerful. And useful.
quote:
That. Is. Huge.
Jan. 9 internet news
Consider, rather than or in addition to a banal instructive creative composition grammar guide, a lampoon of grammar and language idiosyncrasies. Say, about how Millennials want to slaughter hidebound grammars and assert their own grammar laws? Satire that also subversively instructs?
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EmmaSohan
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
Consider, rather than or in addition to a banal instructive creative composition grammar guide, a lampoon of grammar and language idiosyncrasies.

I do that! Reproduced:

April 1, 2017. At the annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of English Grammar this week in Honolulu, the word then was made a coordinating conjunction. Tempers flared during a long and often highly-technical debate, but in the end 65% voted to induct then into the hallowed realm of coordinating conjunctions. The president of the SAEG, Lauren Chen, said, "Our action today is another step forward in perfecting the laws of grammar."

Not everyone was happy with this outcome. Melvin Barnard said, "FANBOYS is a beloved part of grammar, enjoyed by teachers and students alike. What will they learn now? FANBOYST?" When told of this objection, Ms. Chen replied: "For heaven's sake! Why can't he just teach TANBOYS?"

This ruling was a boon for the anti-comma splice caucus -- it had been an embarrassment to their position that independent clauses joined with a comma and the word then were technically considered comma splices.

In other actions, answers to questions were recategorized as not being fragments, the proposal to ban the use of semicolons in Times New Roman was rejected, and the issue of how to represent a dramatic pause was referred back to committee.

The 2018 "lampoon" is here

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extrinsic
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Adverb "then" is often comma separated already for conjunctive cases:

Roger ran home, [and] then showered.

So bother Mom, then, or not.

A brag once boasted, then, is never forgotten.

As it would seem, then, all parties dissent.

Stronger satire and lampoon appeals entail more overt irony, sarcasm, or both than the above.

//At the daily conclave seclusion of the Piety for the Re-regulation of English Grammaticalism, in Netherwetted, Montana// ?? Overstatement and subtle irony. And a bonus sarcasm humor for close readers: PREG.

Satire also entails at least two distinct voice attitudes, one objective, factual mannerism, one subjective, strong ironic or caustic sarcasm, related to tone's attitude toward a topic. Four or so voices are common to the stronger appeal satires and lampoons, one objective, one each of Juvenalean (individual person targets) and Horatioan (group cohort targets) or Horatioan and Menippean (moral aptitude targets) satire, or Juvenalean and Menippean, maybe all three or maybe three a bridge too far, and one of a strong subjective opinion attitude synthesis of a whole.

[ January 12, 2019, 09:05 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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EmmaSohan
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Interesting. Right, I like cynicism more than sarcasm, and I think the point should be to deepen understanding and awareness.

So, there's almost a short essay buried within why she suggests TANBOYS. Some would already know it, some would not be aware of what is happening, but in the middle there might be some people wondering about the inclusion of "for" as a coordinating conjunction.

I am not sure what you are saying about then.

Roger ran home, but did not shower.
Roger ran home, then did not shower.

It's more than a little awkward to assign "but" and "then" completely different grammar categories in those sentences. I guess my lampooning on that should have been stronger.

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extrinsic
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Though much daylight spans between cynicism and sarcasm, few and far between appreciate the distinctions. Cynicism is a temperament not inherently related to moral aptitude; sarcasm is a mannerism about moral aptitude.

"then" is an ¹adverb, ²noun, or ³adjective. "but" is a ¹conjunction, ²preposition, ³adverb, 4^pronoun, or 5^noun. Either, like many, most, or all words, can be an interjection otherwise.

A dictionary of English usage gives examples of each's context, and Webster's 11th.

The comma here is a stray. A serial compound predicate of two coordinate items, though technically a coordination conjunction for contrast (contradiction); that is, coordinates, connects the same kind of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, phrases, subordinate clauses, or independent clauses. Coordination gives related significance to two or more equal speech items:

"Roger ran home, but did not shower."

"but" there coordinates two coordinate though contrasted predicate phrases, not two independent clauses. Test: //ran home and did not shower.// No comma, due to the negation, though a possible not-simultaneous mistake, confused anyway.

However, //Roger ran home, but he did not shower.// Is two coordinate independent clauses, takes the comma due to the coordination conjunction. Or a semicolon if "but" omitted: //Roger ran home; he did not shower.//

Or if three or more coordinate items, compound subjects and/or predicates, and/or coordinate serial items, and coordination conjunctions, too, then serial list commas: //Roger ran home, but did not shower, nor change clothes.// Or //Roger ran home, did not shower, nor change clothes.//

"ran home, then did not shower" is a predicate phrase and an adverb phrase, not coordinate items, takes the comma.

Coordination between serial parts of speech and phrases and clauses is an advanced grammar topic rarely taught in grade schools anymore, though an eighth grade level skill expectation, and a common as breath grammar error. The figure of speech is parataxis: parallel taxa, parallel species of speech.

A competent instructor or editor's edit mark would red ink, such as the above "Roger ran home, but did not shower." no , no comma needed, coord, coordination fault, or both, see Little, Brown (28)(24a).

A gamut of conventional red-ink edit marks, far different from proofreader's marks, per Little, Brown:
code:
[i]ab[/i]	Abbreviation fault (35)		[i]mix[/i]	Mixed construction (22a - b)
[i]ad[/i] Misused adjective, adverb (16) [i]mm[/i] Misplaced modifier (21a - g)
[i]agr[/i] Agreement error (15) [i]mng[/i] Meaning unclear
[i]ap[/i] Add apostrophe or misused (30) [i]no cap[/i] Unnecessary cap (33f)
[i]appr[/i] Inappropriate language (37) [i]no ,[/i] No comma needed (28)
[i]arg[/i] Argument faulty (8 - 9) [i]no ¶[/i] No new paragraph needed (4)
[i]awk[/i] Awkward construction [i]p[/i] Puncuation error (27 - 43)
[i]case[/i] Case error (13) [i]par or ¶[/i] Start new paragraph (4)
[i]cap[/i] Use capital letter (33) [i]¶ coh[/i] Paragraph incoherent (4c)
[i]cit[/i] Missed or citation error (44) [i]¶ dev[/i] Paragraph undeveloped (4d)
[i]coh[/i] Coherence lack (2c - 4, 4c) [i]¶ un[/i] Paragraph un-unified (4b)
[i]con[/i] Be more concise (39) [i]pass[/i] Passive voice fault (14j)
[i]coord[/i] Coordination fault (24a) [i]pn agr[/i] Prounon-antecedent err (15b)
[i]cs[/i] Comma splice (18a - b) [i]rep[/i] Unnecessary repetition (39c)
[i]d[/i] Ineffective diction (37 - 39) [i]rev[/i] Revise or proofread (3)
[i]des[/i] Document design fault (5) [i]shift[/i] Inconsistency (20)
[i]det[/i] Determiner use error (16h) [i]sp[/i] Misspelled word (40)
[i]dev[/i] Inadequate development (2, 4d) [i]sub[/i] Subordination fault (24b)
[i]div[/i] Incorrect word division (40d) [i]t[/i] Verb tense error (14g - h)
[i]dm[/i] Dangling modifier (21h) [i]t seq[/i] Verb sequence error (14b)
[i]eff[/i] Ineffective sentence (23 - 26) [i]trans[/i] Transition needed (4a,c - 6)
[i]emph[/i] Emphasis lacking or faulty (23) [i]und[/i] Underline (34)
[i]exact[/i] Inexact language (39) [i]usage[/i] See usage reference
[i]fp[/i] Faulty predication (22b) [i]var[/i] Vary sentence structure (26)
[i]frag[/i] Sentence fragment fault (17) [i]vb[/i] Verb form error (14a - f)
[i]fs[/i] Fused sentence (run-on) (18c) [i]vb agr[/i] Subject-verb agreement (15a)
[i]gram[/i] Grammar error (12 - 16) [i]w[/i] Wordy (39)
[i]hyph[/i] Hyphenation error (40d) [i]ww[/i] Wrong word (39)
[i]inc[/i] Incomplete construct (22c - e) [i]//[/i] Parallism fault (25)
[i]ital[/i] Use italics (34) [i]#[/i] Add space
[i]lc[/i] Use lowercase letter (33f) [i]X[/i] Obivious error
[i]log[/i] Faulty logic (8g, 8d) [i]^[/i] Something missing (22e)
[i]mech[/i] Mechanics error (33 - 36) [i]??[/i] Illegible or meaning unclear



[ January 14, 2019, 09:36 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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EmmaSohan
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:Right. I was just going with your example.

Roger ran home, then he showered.

Most writers would not realize that was a comma splice. (I guess most writers wouldn't care.)

For a final second he listened, then he reached behind his back for the knife and went up... (Dr. No, Fleming)

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extrinsic
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"Roger ran home, then he showered."

Is an unfit comma splice use due to the two clauses are non-coordinate, that is, entail a predicate independent clause and an independent conjunctive adverb clause.

//Roger ran home; then he showered.// Two independent clauses joined by a semicolon and conjunctive adverb.
//Roger ran home, then showered.// One independent clause, one dependent adverbial clause, comma and conjunctive adverb join.

Tests of conjunctive adverb clauses (adverbial clause): Contains a conjunctive adverb and a verb; subject or implied subject optional. Also, a conjunctive adverb is location independent within a dependent adverbial clause. Otherwise, a conjunctive adverb or clause is location independent within an independent clause.

"Roger ran home; then he showered."
//Roger ran home; he then showered.//
//Roger ran home; he showered then.//
//Roger ran home, then showered.//
//Roger ran home, showered then.//

Conjunctive adverbs (incomplete list):
[addition] also, besides, further, furthermore, in addition, incidentally, moreover
[emphasis] certainly, for example, indeed, in fact, still, that is, undoubtedly
[comparison or contrast] although, however, in comparison, in contrast, instead, likewise, nevertheless, nonetheless, otherwise, rather, though
[cause or effect] accordingly, as a result, consequently, hence, similarly, therefore, thus
[time] finally, in the meantime, meantime, meanwhile, next, now, then, thereafter

Conjunctive adverbs take semicolon leads if clause syntax differs. If a dependent conjunctive adverb or adverbial clause or phrase coordinates an independent clause and a dependent clause, then comma separation. If a conjunctive adverb clause, phrase, or adverb coordinates two otherwise independent clauses, then a semicolon leads and a comma follows the conjunctive adverb or clause:

//Roger ran home; though he showered.//
//Roger ran home; he showered, though.//
//Roger ran home; he, though, showered.//
//Though Roger ran home, he showered.//
//Roger, though, ran home; he showered.//

//Roger ran home; however, he then showered.//
//Roger ran home; he then showered, however.//
//However, Roger ran home; he then showered.//

//Roger ran home, that is, showered.//
//Roger ran home; that is, he showered.//

However, strong and clear prose appeal favors few, if any, conjunctive adverbs; few, if any, -ly or otherwise adverbs or connective tissues, for that matter. Except the near invisible coordination conjunction workhorse and for explicit compound constructions.

The use of but entails solely strong and clear contradiction between coordinate clauses, yet is a too common tic for anything and everything but (²preposition) contradiction. Likewise, because for other than an essential restrictive causality expression is a too common tic.

//Roger ran home; and he showered.// Sequential coordination, compound, independent serial actions demarcated by the semicolon and "and."
//Roger ran home, and showered.// Sequential coordination, compound serial actions, independent-dependent clauses, demarcated by the comma and "and."
//Roger ran home, undressed, and showered.// Sequential coordination, compound predicate serial action triplet.
//Roger ran home and showered.// Not-simultaneous mistake. No one, no thing, either, can run home and shower at the same time. Except if showers while runs is a rainfall event or similar; then, context setup and texture wrap are essential. Use of "then" is much deprecated, too.

Several of these above are far too technical and possibly too bumpy for general use, apt, though, for formal composition; rather, in which case, many casual writers resort to punctuation downstyle, from semicolon to comma, or dependent and independent word, phrase, or clause internal punctuation omissions or altogether. I suggest rewrite considerations for leisure-lavish dramatic attention instead of rushed and forced syntax, usually.

[ January 14, 2019, 09:47 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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EmmaSohan
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
However, strong and clear prose appeal favors few, if any, conjunctive adverbs; few, if any, -ly or otherwise adverbs or connective tissues, for that matter.

I don't advice against all adverbs is dangerous. In my modern grammar book, I tried to think up all of the reasons not to use adverbs. But when I was done, I still had times when they were fine. And other times when they had small flaws but seemed okay. Which explains why everyone uses them.

Then as I wrote I discovered they could be powerful. And it took work and skill to find that right adverb.

(I had one line I couldn't get to work until I thought of, of all words, "suddenly.")

Because they are powerful, they can be misused and used thoughtlessly. That happens to most powerful things, right? But we want writers to learn to use adverbs powerfully, right?

In context, this adverb from my reading today packed a lot of punch. Which is what adverbs can do.

It was an uncomfortably sound argument... (Not That I Could Tell)

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extrinsic
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"It was an _uncomfortably sound_ argument..."

The clause expresses irony's congruent opposites and an apt moral aptitude satire target there, more than an empty -ly adverb, of greater significance rhetoric functions, that is. The figure is oxymoron, a compressed paradox that entails a contradiction of terms and nonetheless expresses a subtle truth subtext (intellectual, emotional, and moral engagement). Never mind, I suppose, the syntax expletive "It." Presumably, the prior sentence timely contains the pronoun's antecedent subject referent.

Suddenly? Context and texture support that use, or not. An inevitable surprise, suddenly? Oxymoron territory.

Punctuation, too, calls due emphasis to apt -ly adverbs' emphasis.

So what if I don' care, actually.
Oh yeah, really?
Really, that can happen.
She tumbled onto the secrets of the arcane arts, literally, fell into Blacks' Tome of Curses and Toxic Tinctures.

[ January 15, 2019, 08:52 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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EmmaSohan
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:

Tests of conjunctive adverb clauses (adverbial clause): Contains a conjunctive adverb and a verb; subject or implied subject optional. Also, a conjunctive adverb is location independent within a dependent adverbial clause. Otherwise, a conjunctive adverb or clause is location independent within an independent clause.

Conjunctive adverbs!

Again, you would like my other grammar book. I assume a language first develops words, then phrases. Then a way of separating the phrases.

Given that, there is liable to be connectors at the start of a phrase, showing how the next phrase connects to the previous one.

Those would be coordinating conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions, and conjunctive adverbs. "Suddenly" would be one; so is "anyway" and "especially".

The sign is that they only make sense in reference to the previous phrase.

It's primitive enough that you can't take it out of English. It uses the function of commas of separating. And there's only a few constructs: phrases, separators, and connectors.

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extrinsic
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I stand by my two editions of The Little, Brown Handbook for comprehensive grammar principles, and elsewhere only when outside that expansive coverage, extant present usage precedent, that is.

An aspect that prose differs from formal composition is the subtle want for dramatic surprise; therefore, prose wants the least quantity of connector parts of speech, includes conjunctions, prepositions, conjunctive adverbs, articles, and multiple-word particles. Dialogue, though, may use those for speaker characterization, mindful a little yada-yaba-do-ya essence is more apt than overwrought formal composition methods.

Also, stream-of-conscious methods, for thought at least, speech, too, when apt for a dramatic situation, often omit several parts of speech: personal self-referential pronouns, contraction affixes (you instead of you've, etc.), articles and particles, adjectives and adverbs, prepositions, and pared to a central potent verb's strongest definite and finite emphasis -- primordial thought.

Those are mechanical considerations. Stream of consciousness' aesthetics qualities are an entire other discussion gamut, mostly oriented around emotional, nonvolitional, spontaneous thought reactions to stimuli, external and/or internal stimuli, includes further thought reactions to thought reactions. A stream flow.

Stream of consciousness defies standard grammar principles and is a grammar unto itself, primitive, that is, and at the same time of a sophistication degree for strong prose appeal, that cinema and stage struggle to deliver through voice-over, dramatic monologue, soliloquy, and camera, microphone, and studio edit gimmicks.

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EmmaSohan
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Rigorously following a primitive grammar, I wrote an entire fiction book, including this passage:
quote:
He stands up, looming, his large hand snapping forward, a quick slap across my cheek. It stings a lot, but it's just red skin, no bruising. The real pain is inside me, getting hit by my father. Him sluggish, me fast, I kick his shin as hard as I can. That's going to seriously bruise. I turn around, stomping away.

Frieda, bringing him a drink! Screaming at her, I shouldn't be angry at her, but "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" Angrily yanking the drink from her hand, disgustedly throwing it on my father.

Any grammar book should be able to handle that -- it's a primitive grammar. They don't, of course, and I am guessing The Little, Brown Handbook doesn't.

Extrinsic, if you call that "stream of consciousness", and I'm guessing it's at least close, you can say "Stream of consciousness defies standard grammar principles" and I will agree. You can say "and is a grammar unto itself, primitive, that is, and at the same time of a sophistication degree for strong prose appeal," and I will again agree.

We seem to disagree on whether you will enjoy reading the rules of it.

Except it's not just for stream of consciousness. Whenever the "rules" of this primitive grammar are broken, I think a sentence becomes harder to read. That's my guess, and I would be eager to hear your opinion.

It's pretty simple: A phrase should make sense by itself (or with reference to the preceding phrase). Phrases should be separated in a clear way. (And I already mentioned about connectors at the start of phrases, showing the relationship to the previous phrase.)

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extrinsic
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"He stands up, looming, his large hand snapping forward, a quick slap across my cheek."

Little, Brown notes that is a tense sequence fault. Verb sequence: simple present main clause, present progressive stranded participle word, present progressive stranded participle clause, a stranded noun appositive phrase at the end posed as a simple present participle phrase. Not an actual simple present participle syntax unit, that is a compound predicate sequence and confused anyway.

Tense sequence: Little, Brown, 14-h, pages 314 - 317. Plus apt tense uses, 14-g, 312 and 313.

None of the -ing verbs above are apt, all are inept, trivial, misplaced and misused and overwrought. Not even for stream of consciousness. Everyday cliché idiom and hypoliterate idiolect social-situation conversation routines among hapless youth, maybe. For prose imitation of that situation type, less is more; more is less; a mere essence is enough.

//He stands up, looms. His large hand snaps forward, slaps across my cheek.//

For apt primitive grammar -- and I have read the site -- basic principles of read, comprehend, and appeal ease differ from yours by all of creation. Yours favors convenient grammar habits and inept innovations that promote obfuscation, confusion, and persistent difficulty of appeal, comprehend, and read ease.

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EmmaSohan
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Does Little, Brown actually approve of "He stands up, looms"? That's two predicates separated by a comma and no conjunction. From one web page:
quote:
A compound predicate is simply two or more main verbs attached to a single subject of the sentence. Please note: When you join just two verbs, no comma should come before the and.
Yep, I picked that because it was ungrammatical, according to those traditional grammar rules. Horribly ungrammatical, I hoped, and it was nice to get your analysis, it trashed the grammar much better than I could have. So we agree on that.

And yet it made sense. We agree that traditional grammar doesn't offer the same guarantee, right?
quote:
The grain that the rat that the cat that the dog chased worried ate lay in the house.
And you mentioned a primitive grammar found in stream of consciousness. Did my passage follow the rules of that primitive grammar?

[ January 21, 2019, 11:12 PM: Message edited by: EmmaSohan ]

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extrinsic
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//He stands up, looms.// Is a rhetoric figure of a subject governs more than one verb, same subject for implied subject sequential syntax units. The two syntax units otherwise prescriptively would be complete independent clauses or a prescriptive compound predicate sentence, and is based upon standard grammar principles, includes rhetoric's applications for effective expression. Grammar and rhetoric are each subsets and top classes of each other.

//He stands up; he looms.//
//He stands up and looms.//
//He stands up, and he looms.//

The figure: diazeugma, "The figure by which a single subject governs several verbs or verbal constructions (usually arranged in parallel fashion and expressing a similar idea); the opposite of zeugma." Diazeugma emphasizes similar, close-related ideas.

Example: "The Romans destroyed Numantia, razed Carthage, obliterated Corinth, overthrew Fregellae. —Ad Herennium" (Gideon Burton, Silva Rhetoricae, rhetoric.byu.edu)

"We agree that traditional grammar doesn't offer the same guarantee, right?"

I cannot agree. How a given writer accords grammar principles and options might or might not ease appeal, read, and comprehension. If a grammar clarifies and strengthens expression, the opposite is equally likely, obfuscation, vagueness, lack-lustrous, and confusion, for deliberate circumlocution and ellipsis intents at least, or due to clumsy grammar, inapt rhetoric, and inept expression aptitude.

An implied imperative, with a rhetorical question tag, request for assent is a distortion of deesis' function, compels testified agreement by default of an asserted request, assumes the conclusion at the outset, a petitio principii fallacy: "a fallacy in which a conclusion is taken for granted in the premises; begging the question" (Webster's), asks for alignment when a position might or does differ and a responder goes along to get along and keep the peace rather than dissents and upsets.

"Did my passage follow the rules of that primitive grammar?"

Please abandon any idea a grammar is rule bound. An exception or two or more is extant for every "rule." Does an exception prove a rule? That proverb bases on that an exception proves a principle is not an inviolate natural law. The speed of light in a vacuum is an inviolate law. Other than a vacuum, light speed varies if passes through a dense gas, liquid, solid, or cryogenic liquid, that is, is a general rule of thumb.

Thumb rule is based upon belief a butcher's thumb weights a scale heavier than the wanted product upon it.

Grammar principles, though, are like the pirates' code, guidelines more or less, considerations, that is, for accord, adjustment, and of a cooperative, tacit social contract nature.

"And you mentioned a primitive grammar found in stream of consciousness. Did my passage follow the rules of that primitive grammar?"

No, yes, sort of, maybe not, I can only speak for me, though it is far off for the first and foremost grammar principle: be of appeal, read, and comprehension ease. That passage asks for more interpretation and inference efforts than warranted and wanted.

Stream of consciousness mastery challenges many writers, and many have broken keels upon its shoals and rocky deeps, and foundered. Technique varies, from William Faulkner's copious rivers to Ernest Hemingway's minimalist trickles, to Jane Austen's deep fathoms to J.K. Rowling's surface sheens, to misogynist, ribald bawdy revelries of Norman Mailer to strong self-righteous moral disapprovals of Charles Portis (True Grit), ad infinitum.

Stream-of-consciousness aesthetics are somewhat demsytified in Seymour Chatman's Story and Discourse and Wayne Booth's The Rhetoric of Fiction, and is closely related to narrative distance. Dave King, "Decoding Narrative Distance."

Of note that a "primitive" stream-of-consciousness grammar often omits -ly and -ing affixes and other word appendage clutter, often pared to the most practical, understandable bare minimum, exceptions abound. Like above, //He stands up, looms. His large hand snaps forward, slaps across my cheek.// Though for best effect, triplets are of stronger clarity and appeal ease than doublets, or also doublet-triplets.

Re: Lewis Carroll, "The Hunting of the Snark,"

" 'Just the place for a Snark!' the Bellman cried, as he landed his crew with care; supporting each man on the top of the tide by a finger entwined in his hair.

" 'Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice: That alone should encourage the crew. Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true.' "

//He stands up, looms, menaces. His large hand snaps forward, slaps across my cheek, stings me stupid.//

That is a primitive, bare minimum stream-of-consciousness diazeugma doublet-triplet, valid grammar, if nonstandard from formal grammar, and is a complete tension entrainment setup, delay, and relief sequence of an apt prose appeal, read, and comprehension ease degree, and entrains further tension escalation to come.

[ January 22, 2019, 03:56 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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EmmaSohan
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
//He stands up, looms.// Is a rhetoric figure of a subject governs more than one verb, same subject for implied subject sequential syntax units. The two syntax units otherwise prescriptively would be complete independent clauses or a prescriptive compound predicate sentence, and is based upon standard grammar principles, includes rhetoric's applications for effective expression. Grammar and rhetoric are each subsets and top classes of each other.

//He stands up; he looms.//
//He stands up and looms.//
//He stands up, and he looms.//

The figure: diazeugma, "The figure by which a single subject governs several verbs or verbal constructions (usually arranged in parallel fashion and expressing a similar idea); the opposite of zeugma." Diazeugma emphasizes similar, close-related ideas.

Example: "The Romans destroyed Numantia, razed Carthage, obliterated Corinth, overthrew Fregellae. —Ad Herennium" (Gideon Burton, Silva Rhetoricae, rhetoric.byu.edu)

This seems tortured. First, you cannot say that something, for example, uses synecdoche or hyperbole and therefore is grammatically correct. And it would be the same for diazeugma. (Which is a concept that spans languages.)

There are "rules" for compound predicates, which you know, and presumably can be found in Brown, Little. "He stands, looms." doesn't follow those rules (or whatever you want to call them).

So, to the extent that there are rules of grammar, that sentence is ungrammatical. If you want to say there are no rules for grammar, then I guess everything's grammatical, but I miss the point of that.

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EmmaSohan
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
Please abandon any idea a grammar is rule bound.

Been there, did that, was really excited to then discover a pattern to the "rule-breaking".

English contains "conventions" which allow us to communicate. If you break those conventions, communication breaks down or is at least more difficult.

If you think of the primitive grammar I mentioned as part of English, then sentences pretty much follow the conventions. If you don't think of them as part of English, then sentences follow either the conventions of English or the primitive grammar.

(The primitive grammar is more psychological than agreed convention.)

So, breaking the rules for spelling or word order within a phrase slows things down.

He corner the in stans.

Commas can't be thrown anywhere.

He, stands in the corner
He stands in the, corner.

But

He stands, looms.

That follows primitive grammar so it's understandable, writers can use it, and they can use it for effect for a lot of reasons Extrinsic has already described. So they do.

If anyone knows of any exceptions, in good/effective writing, I would be interested.

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extrinsic
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"The Romans destroyed Numantia, razed Carthage, obliterated Corinth, overthrew Fregellae. —Ad Herennium" (Gideon Burton, Silva Rhetoricae, rhetoric.byu.edu)

Is an apt prescriptive grammar construct, is list item parallelism and serial list punctuation, albeit a list coordination conjunction absent for emphasis function -- auxesis.

Though a general principle of serial lists wants three or more items, and is a valid rationale for item triplets versus item doublets, a two-item list is a descriptive discretion and an apt type of fragment, implied clause, actually.

//He stands up, looms.// The comma's "and" substitution function in action and a continued subject are implied. Could also be the style workhorse dash instead of a comma. //He stands up -- looms.// Or could be a colon. //He stands up: looms.// (Introduces an explanation and an appositive syntax unit, a fragment.) Both those are "proper" grammar. However, descriptive discretion grammar principles favor the less bumpy comma for the less emphasis function, in that case, and to signal two sequential, non-simultaneous actions.

That above is several diverse grammar principles at work, and usage precedent supports the situation (syntax idiom).

Though a formal and proscriptive grammar red-inks a two-item list without complete compound predicate or clause syntax, a two-item list is apt for prose's informal descriptive discretion.

"Tortured," maybe, though stream of consciousness's descriptive discretion methods include apt attention lavished for emphatic expression, which a timely, judicious two or three or more item serial list may do. English, in and of itself, does not entail an emphatic mood; however, syntax constructs may express emphasis and of a near invisible or at least smooth, if tortured, mannerism. "Tortured" might be a best desired effect and that appeals.

A description of a man slaps a young woman warrants a tortured emphasis, certainly, and for an insider viewpoint of a stream-of-consciousness grammar. The doublet-triplet pares that emphatic, timely action description to an apt bare minimum time to read span that reflects the actual time elapsed. Next, what follows, best ought be a momentary emotional thought reaction to the slap action and of any apt timely length and grammar completeness for the situation, then the external reaction, for a natural sequence of rapid, sequential events of apt emphasis degrees per each segment.

Prose wants apt, descriptive grammar; formal composition demands proscriptive and prescriptive grammar.

[ January 22, 2019, 08:50 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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