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  1. #1
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    Default Dependent clauses after independent clauses.

    Ok, here is my question: I know the rule stating that if a dependent clause comes after an independent clause no comma is necessary, but I have seen just the opposite of this occurring frequently in a book I am reading. What are the reasons a comma might be necessary after an independent clause leading into a dependent clause? Also, if you answer, please check for any grammatical errors in this text and tell me what my mistake is and why I should or should not have punctuated the sentence that way. I'm trying really hard to improve my grammar, so any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Sam

  2. #2
    naomimalan is offline Member
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    Default Re: Dependent clauses after independent clauses.

    Your punctuation and grammar look fine to me. You could have omitted the comma before 'so' in the last line but it's alright to have it there.

    Re the comma you've seen before 'dependent' clauses (= subordinate, I imagine?), maybe you could give a few examples from the book you quote.

    Offhand, I can think only of what are called "non-restrictive relative clauses" e.g. The teacher reprimanded the children, who had behaved very badly. It's a stupid sentence, I know, but I can't think of a better one.

    If there hadn't been a comma after children, then the teacher reprimanded only some of the children: the ones who had behaved badly.

    The presence of the comma after children indicates that you're talking about the whole class: all of them had behaved badly.

    This is only one type of non-restrictive relative clause but they all require commas.

  3. #3
    Charlie Bernstein is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Dependent clauses after independent clauses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sammy_ View Post
    Ok, here is my question: I know the rule stating that if a dependent clause comes after an independent clause no comma is necessary, but I have seen just the opposite of this occurring frequently in a book I am reading. What are the reasons a comma might be necessary after an independent clause leading into a dependent clause? Also, if you answer, please check for any grammatical errors in this text and tell me what my mistake is and why I should or should not have punctuated the sentence that way. I'm trying really hard to improve my grammar, so any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Sam
    Yes, Sam, your writing is perfect, as far as I can see - which is more than we can say for most native English speakers. Naomimalan is probably right. Can you give us an example and tell us who the writer is, when it was written, and the writer's nationality?

    Different writers use different styles, and style also depends on when it was written and what country the writer is from. The rules change constantly, and some writers and editors change rules they don't like — or simply break them when they think the rule hurts the writing.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Dependent clauses after independent clauses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Yes, Sam, your writing is perfect, as far as I can see - which is more than we can say for most native English speakers. Naomimalan is probably right. Can you give us an example and tell us who the writer is, when it was written, and the writer's nationality?

    Different writers use different styles, and style also depends on when it was written and what country the writer is from. The rules change constantly, and some writers and editors change rules they don't like or simply break them when they think the rule hurts the writing.
    Sure I can. The author is Raymond E. Feist, it was written in 1982, and his nationality is American.

    Here is an example: Throughout the day they had watched the pursuing ship grow slowly in size. At first the tiny speck grew with maddening slowness, but now with alarming rapidity. Arutha could see the sails clearly defined, no longer a simple blur of white, and he could see the hint of a black speck at the masthead, undoubtedly Guy's banner.

    Are the parts of the sentences I made bold even clauses? If not, are they phrases? Why does a comma precede the bold words? Again, if you see any grammatical errors in my own text, please point them out.

    Thanks,
    Sam

  5. #5
    naomimalan is offline Member
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    Default Re: Dependent clauses after independent clauses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sammy_ View Post
    Sure I can. The author is Raymond E. Feist, it was written in 1982, and his nationality is American.

    Here is an example: Throughout the day they had watched the pursuing ship grow slowly in size. At first the tiny speck grew with maddening slowness, but now with alarming rapidity. Arutha could see the sails clearly defined, no longer a simple blur of white, and he could see the hint of a black speck at the masthead, undoubtedly Guy's banner.

    Are the parts of the sentences I made bold even clauses? If not, are they phrases? Why does a comma precede the bold words? Again, if you see any grammatical errors in my own text, please point them out.

    Thanks,
    Sam
    No grammatical errors. Why should there be? Charlie is right.

    -, but now with alarming rapidity. Theoretically, a conjunction like but shouldn't be preceded by a comma but plenty of people break this rule (including myself) if they feel that for some reason a comma is appropriate. In this case, the writer may have felt that the sentence was a bit too long and required breaking up.

    You ask if this could be called a clause. In fact, you might call it a truncated clause.

    but now (it grew)with alarming rapidity

    The writer has left out the words 'it grew' because they are obvious and also for stylistic reasons: a short phrase rather than a long clause emphasises the idea of rapidity.

    -he could see the hint of a black speck at the masthead, undoubtedly Guy's banner.

    The words in bold correspond to a truncated non-restrictive relative clause ( a different type from the one I described higher up):

    , which was undoubtedly Guy's banner,

    which referring back to a black speck.

    The writer has left out the noun phrase a black speck because the reader can deduce this without its having to be repeated.

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