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Old 02-11-2013, 03:43 PM
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Default The grammar PSA thread of griping about grammar

The comma

Listen, everybody. This is important, and you should have learned it in elementary school:

You can't use commas to join two sentences, people who do it are bad and wrong, and an angel loses its wings every time you try.

(But please note that the preceding sentence uses commas to form a list! This is another helpful usage of commas.)

How to properly separate two independent clauses:

The most common way to separate two independent clauses is by separating them into two separate sentences divided by some sort of terminal punctuation, such as this period. (<- that one)

If you feel like you really must use a comma, then you can use a conjunction to join your two sentences, but please read on for common pitfalls.

How to tell if you need a comma before a conjunction:

If the two parts of your sentence would be proper sentences on their own, use a comma*. Example: John walked to the store, and he bought a loaf of bread.

If one of the two parts of your sentence would not be a sentence by itself, do not use a comma. Example: John walked to the store and bought a loaf of bread.

At the end of a list of more than two items, the comma is optional. A comma after the penultimate item in the list is called the Oxford comma or serial comma. Most people who are in charge of telling you how to use commas recommend using the Oxford comma, and so do I.

However (which is an adverb that should be followed by a comma), lists whose items contain commas should be separated by semicolons instead. There is no precedent for calling it "the Oxford semicolon," but the final semicolon is not optional in this context as it would be with commas. Example: I invited Bob, my brother; Sally, my sister; and your mom to my party.

*But this use of a comma is sometimes unnecessary, especially in very short sentences (e.g. "Come here and sit down"). This is a very situational rule that you're almost certainly better off ignoring, since not only is the rule ill-defined, but it's generally obvious that a comma is out of place in this situation. When in doubt, just use the comma.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:57 PM
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Default Its

His, her, its - Possessive. No apostrophe.
He's, she's, it's - Contractions of he is, she is, it is. Apostrophe.

The fact that "Its" is mimicking the "add apostrophe S" rule for possessive proper nouns makes this unintuitive. But the rule to remember is all three possessive pronouns lack apostrophes, and all three contractions have them.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:35 PM
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The only people who have a problem with the Oxford comma are AP style thugs. I don't use it simply out of being conditioned not to use it.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:39 PM
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i kind of hate vampire weekend for making oxford commas a conversation point
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:40 PM
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fuck grammar, and ,fuck the police
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:43 PM
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:45 PM
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I thank grammar for putting food on my table since 2006, but I could give a shit how well people adhere to its rules in any other context.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taosterman View Post
I thank grammar for putting food on my table since 20061999, but I could give a shit how well people adhere to its rules in any other context.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poetfox View Post
comma strippers
In fairness, you can use the same argument against the Oxford comma:

"We invited the stripper, JFK, and Stalin."

In this case, the Oxford comma creates ambiguity (is JFK the stripper?). The important thing is to respect the maxims of conversation and be consistent with your comma use. The ambiguity in both examples is easily avoided by moving "the stripper(s)" to the end of the sentence.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:50 PM
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Can't argue with that.

But come on.

Series Comma.

Students of mine, please.

Series Comma.
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  #11  
Old 02-11-2013, 05:18 PM
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Nope.
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:56 PM
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Obviously we need to ban the people here who make egregious mistakes most often. It's the only sensible solution to protect our precious, precious sensibilities.
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  #13  
Old 02-11-2013, 07:15 PM
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A gripe about grammar: people saying it when they mean style.
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:17 PM
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although its funny to be a stickler about grammar or proper stuff with online communication since lol we just do wtf we want
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrpretzel View Post
A gripe about grammar: people saying it when they mean any other aspect of language use.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:31 AM
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Can we all at least agree that any adult who misuses "they're," "their," or "there" (without immediately undergoing severe penances to purge the worst of the stench of mortal sin) is a subhuman fit only to carry out back-breaking menial labor in absolute silence until claimed by the mercy of a swift death?
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
although its funny to be a stickler about grammar or proper stuff with online communication since lol we just do wtf we want
^_^;
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bongo Bill View Post
Can we all at least agree that any adult who misuses "they're," "their," or "there" (without immediately undergoing severe penances to purge the worst of the stench of mortal sin) is a subhuman fit only to carry out back-breaking menial labor in absolute silence until claimed by the mercy of a swift death?
I do that accidentally all the time. I know the difference, but that doesn't mean my hands do.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:38 AM
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Their fine, get off they're back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
although its funny to be a stickler about grammar or proper stuff with online communication since lol we just do wtf we want
I literally could care less.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:58 AM
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Geez, this thread is like snob porn.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
The comma

Listen, everybody. This is important, and you should have learned it in elementary school:

You can't use commas to join two sentences, people who do it are bad and wrong, and an angel loses its wings every time you try.

(But please note that the preceding sentence uses commas to form a list! This is another helpful usage of commas.)
But you see, you used "This" which is singular, and then you follow it up with a list of items. What you are really referring to with "this" is the comma portion. So you are instead joining two sentences ("You can't use commas to join two sentences" and "People who do it are bad and wrong, and an angel loses its wings every time you try.").

Hypocrite! (and even if you argue that that truly is a list, it's a terrible construct)
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:16 AM
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narcodis View Post
Geez, this thread is like snob porn.
Maybe you should chill out and stop being a big, gaping vagina.
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  #24  
Old 02-12-2013, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narcodis View Post
Geez, this thread is like snob porn.
EDIT
More than anything else this thread is a portrait of the endless battle between those who care about grammar on a tangible level those who don't give a fuck, those who are wondering if this is the point where they should start giving a fuck, and those who will staunchly carry their fuck to their graves where there disgusting aggressors are welcome to pull they're fuck out of them cold dead hands.

Last edited by BEAT; 02-12-2013 at 10:22 AM. Reason: ITS MY GIFT TO YOU, GRAMMAR DUDES.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:56 AM
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This thread is trying too hard
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  #26  
Old 02-12-2013, 12:25 PM
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The only grammar nitpick I give a shit about is good versus well. Everything else is to be evaluated on if it helps or hinders clear communication.
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  #27  
Old 02-12-2013, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madhair60 View Post
I literally could care less.
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  #28  
Old 02-12-2013, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by botticus View Post
But you see, you used "This" which is singular, and then you follow it up with a list of items.
Uh, no. There is no "this" in the sentence with the list. If it makes you feel better, pretend the colon in the first paragraph is a period.
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  #29  
Old 02-12-2013, 01:51 PM
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See, here's the thing about grammar: it's far more interesting when you use grammar to mean "the system of rules that define how people naturally create language" rather than using it to mean "the system of rules that a bunch of dudes in the 18th and 19th centuries created to define how people should create language."

Punctuation's a bit of a sticky wicket though, since it's only part of written, not spoken, language and therefore doesn't occur naturally. That's why it's such a shit show.

(Sorry, I'm taking Intro to Linguistics this year and its fucking fascinating and I can't stop thinking about it.)
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
The only people who have a problem with the Oxford comma are AP style thugs. I don't use it simply out of being conditioned not to use it.
This. Writing doesn't feel efficient when using so many optional commas.

There's also something to be said about over-use and how it appears to the person reading as well. I can only assume this is why most fiction isn't loaded to the brim with commas at every possible opportunity where one could be used and still be grammatically correct.
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fuck yo couch , grammar nazi , in luau of , listen to karzac , pedantic bullshit , prescriptivist bullshit , punctuation

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