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gothicangel
06-14-2017, 11:53 PM
I've decided to brush up on my grammar skills, and comma splicing was one of my great sins at university (yep, I'm an English graduate). Until about 30 minutes ago I didn't realise what an independent clause was. Now I get it, but I was doing an online test (Bristol University) and another rule popped up . . . introductory phrases which circumvent the use of a semicolon. So what is does an 'introductory phrase mean, and how do I recognise one?

Ta. x

cornflake
06-15-2017, 12:06 AM
An introductory phrase... introduces the topic/idea/setting. It can't really stand alone.

Like...

Following the Stanley Cup finals, fans of the Predators realized the hockey gods don't appreciate southern NHL teams.

Before we arrived at the park, Alex had climbed four peaks and eaten lunch.

Maryn
06-15-2017, 01:41 AM
In addition to what Cornflake said, note that an introductory "phrase" can be a single word, and that many publishers still want a comma to separate it from the independent clause that follows. Others are less rigid.

Later, she changed her mind.
Fortunately, she changed it back.
Nevertheless, she persisted.

Me, I might be inclined to skip those, but it's worth knowing.

gothicangel
06-15-2017, 11:47 PM
Thanks again. :)

Chase
06-16-2017, 01:11 AM
In addition to what Cornflake said, note that an introductory "phrase" can be a single word, and that many publishers still want a comma to separate it from the independent clause that follows. Others are less rigid.

Later, she changed her mind.
Fortunately, she changed it back.
Nevertheless, she persisted.

Me, I might be inclined to skip those, but it's worth knowing.

I don't know if it has to do with rigidity. What I advise to clients is consistency to ease reading. If you put commas after one-word introductory elements (usually adverbs such as however, moreover, consequently, then, also, etc.), stay consistent throughout your manuscript.

As Maryn does, some authors set up their own rules of consistency and only set off introductory element with five syllables or more--or five words or more.

Maryn
06-16-2017, 02:02 AM
[Maryn carefully counts words and fingers. Sometimes she gets six, though.]

Chase
06-16-2017, 02:29 AM
[Maryn carefully counts words and fingers. Sometimes she gets six, though.]

If you refer to yourself twice in third person, is it then sixth person?

While we're talking introductory elements, adverbs are the usual suspects we set off with commas.

However, we shouldn't set off leading coordinating conjunctions (and, or, nor, but, for, yet, so) just for kicks or even dramatic pauses.

Rigidly Wrong: "So, how did the game go?"

Rigidly right: "So how did the game go?"

Flexibly okay for dramatic pause: "So . . . how did the game go?"

skyhawk0
06-24-2017, 07:56 AM
If you refer to yourself twice in third person, is it then sixth person?

While we're talking introductory elements, adverbs are the usual suspects we set off with commas.

However, we shouldn't set off leading coordinating conjunctions (and, or, nor, but, for, yet, so) just for kicks or even dramatic pauses.

Rigidly Wrong: "So, how did the game go?"

Rigidly right: "So how did the game go?"

Flexibly okay for dramatic pause: "So . . . how did the game go?"There's also "So? How did the game go?" So many ways to express nuance…

I'll note that 'so' has multiple senses and the considerations differ with the sense in play. What you consider rigidly wrong, you can find recommended by Oxford. ( https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/so ) Note that they make the distinction between introducing a question (followed by a comma) and introducing a question that follows from what was said previously (no comma following). The sense of 'thus' gets treated differently (whatever standard you choose) and applies where you could use "And so...".