Re: comma splice?

Subject: Re: comma splice?
From: Arthur Comings <atc -at- CORTE-MADERA -dot- GEOQUEST -dot- SLB -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 4 Feb 1994 16:56:21 PST

> Arthur Comings said:
> > -- What *pro-active* nitpicking (checking your own writing before it goes
> > out) does is to make your E-mail easier for everyone else to scan quickly
> > and (given more time) to understand. Given the number of people who
> > may be reading any given message, the time spent seems worth it to me.

Karen replied:
> Depends on if you think e-mail is writing or speech. I'm firmly in
> the speech camp, and find myself writing comma splices all the time.
> It's the way we talk. I often find excessively carefully written
> e-mail difficult to read--it's too dense.

Quite an interesting theory. Are you saying that any text that purports
to mirror speech should be subject to a different set of rules? Can you
lay them out for us? Or no rules at all -- whatever key the writer
happens to strike is OK? Seems like we've gotten along pretty well so
far with one set of rules for all text, whether spoken or not.

And you're also saying that it takes you longer to read a comma than a
semicolon, which is generally what a comma splice replaces?

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not in favor of rules just because we need
more rules. The fewer the better, as far as I'm concerned. I'm just
speaking selfishly: when a piece of writing plays by a minimal set of
rules, I can read it faster. A comma is a quick clue as to how a
sentence is constructed; when it's a false clue, it slows me down. I
can usually figure out what the person meant, but I'd prefer to keep
reading unimpeded.


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