Fun, Amazing, Etc.

This is the official blog of indie author / adventure writer Andy R. Bunch, author of the fantasy book, "Suffering Rancor." As always, I'll post funny or amazing things I find in my travels or from poking around online. This is a great place to kick back and relax a bit. You may note that I’m not too clean or too dirty. For more information on my book, go to Here are links to first two books and

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Fun with English: okay this is just about my grammatical pet peeves...

I stole this shamelessly from Mary Rosenblum's newsletter to repost here because she's spot on and I can't improve on it. If you are an Indie Author and you aren't following Mary you should be.

If you haven't seen it yet this is the cover for my anthology due out early May.

The Craft Corner

Comma Splices

 Grammar matters.
Yes, sorry about that, it does.  If you submit to a commercial publisher, the editor does not expect to have to fix writing basics. That is your job as a professional!  If you publish your own work, reviewers can be harsh about pointing out poor grammar and reviewing a book as a poor read.   Now grammar is not so important in dialogue, although punctuation and that sort of 'nuts and bolts' level of grammar is still important.   If your kid character, who grew up on the street in an urban slum, talks like a college graduate your characterization fails. Obviously! 
But if it's the author's voice or narrative, it matters.  Why?   
It matters because a lot of your readers know their grammar and those mistakes will annoy them.  Annoyed readers are not engaged readers.  Many of your readers who do not know their grammar will know that the sentence sounds wrong, even if they can't tell you why it's wrong.  That sense of 'wrong' will distract them from the story.  Distracted readers are not engaged readers!
A comma splice is one of the most common style errors I see in novice author prose.  What is a comma splice? 
It's when you join two phrases that could be stand alone sentences, using a comma.
Cara ran through the trees, she was out of breath.
We have two sentences here:   Cara ran through the trees.   She was out of breath.
In English it is the job of a conjunction to join these two independent clauses, which is what you have when that clause could be a sentence on its own.  That means we need something like 'and'.
Cara ran through the tree, and she was out of breath.
Cara ran through the trees, even though she was out of breath.
We still have the comma, but now, combined with the conjunction, it is doing its job properly.  Your grammar-knowledgeable readers will read happily on and your hind-brain grammar readers will stay engaged. 
Remember…if the clauses on either side of that comma could each be a sentence on its own, you need a conjunction and comma to join them,  not just a comma! 
If one of the sentences is not an independent clause, if it is not a grammatically complete sentence on its own, then a comma alone is sufficient:
Cara ran through the trees, panting hard.
We do not have two complete sentences.  Cara ran through the trees.  Panting hard.    Clearly, the first is a complete sentence, but the second is not.  It's actually an adverbial phrase describing how she ran, just for those of you who want a bit more grammar education here. 
Since we do not have two complete sentences to join, you simply use the comma, no conjunction is required. 

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