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Old 01-24-2013, 07:33 AM   #26
cornflake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirokirie View Post
Thank you.

I just wanted to take into consideration:
What if, instead of assimilating the silent-but-logical rules of syntax, a newbie writer ends up taking on a stylistic technique of an experienced author who very clearly knows what they are doing in 'butchering' or intentionally misusing syntax for a specific effect?

Wouldn't that be detrimental to the student's desire to write acceptably?
Yes. In general (obviously there are people who differ), people who read a lot and always have done tend to read widely. If someone grows up reading a great variety of authors, genres, styles, etc., narrowing his or her subject matter as time goes on and preferences strengthen, that wouldn't be an issue.

If someone wasn't a big reader, wasn't taught grammar in school and started reading, say, Stephen King at age 14, didn't really deviate much and picked up construction and writing from that, that would be an issue.

Same as anything else. If someone has a good piano teacher who grounds him in the basic skills, and that student grows into a competent player, he can then try different styles and methods with no problem. He knows the 'correct' way to play and thus can hear the difference when another player is playing with half the indicated pauses in a section for particular effect or with more emotion or what have you.

By the way, there are a lot of sites with grammar instruction and games to play to check your understanding - they're for kids but that's where you missed the instruction so that's what'd be good to start with, I think.

Try googling middle school grammar games or practice and you'll see lots of sites with different types of practice and training things - you can use those with the books to see how much you're advancing and etc.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:04 AM   #27
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Alright, I'm going to assume at this point things are going okay.

Thanks again, everyone, for your help and suggestions on what to dive into. I'mma continue reading up on this stuff as I go along.

You've really been a mega-great help!
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:44 AM   #28
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Can I, may I, just add this, Shirokirie?
Quote:
The mornings that he used to be up before the silvery dawn have gone slack. She knows Nikolei is awake, although his breathing is deceptive and contrary.
There's something to be said of style, too. Despite some of the issues you and others have brought up here--grammar and ellipses and em-dashes and Oxford commas and all that good stuff, subject-verb agreement and wtf else--you have an inherent style that tends to run a little below the radar. Not status quo. It's yours, don't forget that, don't lose that. Familiarize yourself with terminology, learn what the tools of the trade are and learn how to work those tools, and it's really going to enrich your writing down the pike. Methinks you are one of a kind, Shirokirie.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:26 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirokirie View Post
Thank you, fadeaccompli. I have been checking out a couple of grammar oriented sites and the table of contents alone makes my brain overload. Unless I know what specifically to look at, I sit down to do it, then get up and go make a cheese burger. Mission accomplished.


Thank you, cornflake.

I take it I have no idea what syntax is, too?
And you can just use commas? Like, okay the last person I talked to over something about grammar said that, at most, there should only be three commas in any given sentence. You know, the "Oxford Comma" rule-thing. So I've been meh about using them.

But, I'll go sit down with that again, too.

Thanks!
There is no rule or limit to how many commas you can use in a sentence. You should use as many as needed by the sentence, as per the rules of comma use. There are some cases where commas are "optional," or where their use can be included for clarity or emphasis. But leaving them out where they are required because you're worried you used up some quota? No.

Now if you're finding that you're writing lots of long, complex sentences that need lots of commas, you may need to consider varying your sentence structure. Chances are, most sentences won't need that many. But if you have a long list of items listed in a sentence, you should separate all of them with commas (except, perhaps, that last and arguably optional depending on context oxford comma).
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:10 PM   #30
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So then I'm just a little curious. I took the 'commas are free' advice to heart and checked it out with a bit of dialogue. That said, how does this stand up to structure and comma use?

Quote:
“As a subject for the remarks of the evening, the history of our people need not be recounted, as it is not a stepping back, a walking in reverse, a reverting to the past that has brought us together this night. Instead is it my pleasure to speak of forthcoming things, as it is to the future that we owe our deepest gratitudes. Still, it has been by no simple task that our nation has prospered. In light of our peace, our success, our standing amongst the nations, the quality of life for ourselves, our children and the generations to come, I stand here now, not as like a matron apart from you, but as a comrade among you, for the simple fact that the choices of each individual to take a step in the right direction has lead us to where we are today.”
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:55 PM   #31
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Shirokirie- take a deep breath- a very, very, deep breath, then try sight-reading the following out loud -

Or better still, get someone else to do so, and you watch and listen carefully, looking for any brow-furrow or signs of breathlessness and hesitancy or lack of comprehension as they speak.


It's full stops you need, not commas - and the obliteration of 'as'.

“As a subject for the remarks of the evening, the history of our people need not be recounted, as it is not a stepping back, a walking in reverse, a reverting to the past that has brought us together this night. Instead is it my pleasure to speak of forthcoming things, as it is to the future that we owe our deepest gratitudes. Still, it has been by no simple task that our nation has prospered. In light of our peace, our success, our standing amongst the nations, the quality of life for ourselves, our children and the generations to come, I stand here now, not as like a matron apart from you, but as a comrade among you, for the simple fact that the choices of each individual to take a step in the right direction has lead us to where we are today.”
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:04 PM   #32
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So does no one actually pause and maybe take time to breathe on a comma? Or is that just a period-only thing anymore?

Kos when I went through that that didn't leave me 'breathless' really.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:37 PM   #33
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Maybe it didn't leave you breathless, but breathing at commas is a totally flawed assumption as to the meaning of a comma, and if creating breathing slots is the reason why you use commas it is, in my humble opinion, badly affecting the readability of your prose.

A comma is to aid comprehension of a sentence and its clauses- it is definitely not an automatic indicator of where a breath should be drawn.

Shirokirie, folk reading aloud may pause and/or draw breath at a comma but it's not because the comma is there- it's because they are an experienced reader able to read ahead and therefore aware that what is coming up means a breath perhaps out to be taken and they decide where to take that pause/breath - it could be anywhere.

A new sentence is an obvious place to draw breath simply because it is a new sentence, but again a fullstop isn't an automatic instruction to breathe.

Long, rambling sentences can be difficult to read either silently or aloud.

Aim for comprehension rather than indicating breathing spots.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirokirie View Post
So does no one actually pause and maybe take time to breathe on a comma? Or is that just a period-only thing anymore?

Kos when I went through that that didn't leave me 'breathless' really.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:49 PM   #34
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Meh. Maybe I need to stop reading Lincoln.

Okay so, comprehension as in...?
I mean I know you mean "reader understanding what you've written," but is there anything apart from that I might need to know about?

and I take it this is better:
Quote:
“As a subject for the remarks of the evening, the history of our people need not be recounted. For it is not due to the stepping back, the walking in reverse, the reverting to the past that has brought us together this night. Instead is it my pleasure to speak of forthcoming things, as it is to the future that we owe our deepest gratitudes. Still, it has been by no simple task that our nation has prospered. In light of our peace, our success, our standing amongst the nations, the quality of life for ourselves, our children and the generations to come, I stand here now, not as like a matron apart from you, but as a comrade among you. For the simple fact that the choices of each individual, to take a step in the right direction, has lead us to where we are today.”
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:55 PM   #35
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Shirokierie--I just wanted to say that while you do have some issues with punctuation and grammar (as pointed out by others), you also have a strong, distinctive voice and I quite liked the samples I read. Your writing, when not hampered by stray bits of misplaced punctuation, is intense and visual and interesting. I think you have a gift. Don't give up. You'll get past this awkwardness with grammar and punctuation.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:05 PM   #36
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I am not trying to make you change the way you write.

Others may express it better, but proper positioning of punctuation marks, coupled with careful word choice and sentence construction and technique usually means the story narrative and dialogue flow with clarity. As a result, hopefully the reader's eye also flows smoothly from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph like floating on a river, even though the river may be smooth or turbulent or meandering, or have tributaries to be explored, or rapids and waterfalls to be negotiated before arriving at the Sea of Conclusion.

I need to lie down, I think.

Good luck.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:14 AM   #37
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Examine these two sentences.

A woman without her man is nothing.

A woman: without her, man is nothing.

Same words, different punctuation, and they mean completely different things. Punctuation is not about pauses in speech, per say. It's about defining the relationships of the words in your sentences so your meaning is clear to the reader.

Apologies re the sexually provocative example, but someone was circulating this one on FB a while ago, and it stuck in my mind.

There's also the old, "Let's eat, Grandpa," versus "Let's eat Grandpa" example.
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