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    #1

    Punctuation: gapping commas

    Hello,

    I have some questions regarding gapping commas; weak interruptions, and associate clauses/ sentences. I'll try and keep it simple if I can.

    For example, if the the test for determining whether a pair of gapping commas have been used correctly is to remove the words inside the commas and for the
    remainder of the clause/sentence to continue to make sense, well, here I think is an example of what I mean:

    The cat, feeling sleepy, lay on the mat.
    For sure then it's easy to see that removing the words feeling sleepy still leaves a sentence that makes sense.
    But when it comes to what I consider to be a weak interruption there does appeare to be varying opinions.

    For example: However, the cat, feeling sleepy, lay on the mat. is not, in my opinion so easily explained away. If the words the cat is removed within the pair of gapping commas what's left obviously does not make sense as a sentence (However, feelling sleepy, lay on the mat).

    Essentially, what I'm wondering is if However can be be regarded as a weak interruption so that the original sentence, punctuated as it is, can be regarded as having being done so correctly.

    Here is another example: Incensed, the woman waited for her husband, while holding onto her rolling-pin.
    Similar to the previous example. if the woman waited for her husband is removed what's left doesn't make sense (Incensed, while holding onto her rolling pin). My question therfore is if Incensed can, the same as However, be regarded as a weak interruption to have that sentence regarded as correctly punctuated, too.

    Lastly I'm not sure about how conjunctions can be accounted for when it comes to gapping commas. For example:
    He wanted to phone his boss, but after thinking about it, the thought of going for a meal he considered preferable.

    I believer it is generally regardedd that if a sentence starts with a conjunction (but, however, and etc), it is altogether permissible to use a single gapping comma at the beginning of the sentence (so long as what follows the commma is a complete sentence in its own right) e.g. And with the rain falling heavily, he took shelter
    under the tree. My problem is the inherrent contradiction that, in the sentence above, comes with removing the words but after thinking about it.

    What I would like to know is if conjunctions can only be applied in this way when they are applied at the very beginning of a sentence, as in And with the rain...tree.
    I'm sorry if all this sounds padantic. Having said that I would appreciate some feedback. Cheers.

    P.S. I've just re-read this and am inclined to think that, strictly speaking, in respect of He wanted to phone...preferable. the removal of the comma between it and the thought seems to be the more clear cut option in that it strikes me as unambigious. Still, I would like to know if there are teachers who consider it permissible to leave in the same comma between it and the thought ?






    on
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 30-Sep-2013 at 17:59. Reason: Tidied up unreadable formatting.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Punctuation: gapping commas

    I don't have time to deal with all of this long post but I want to respond to one part. You wrote:

    - He wanted to phone his boss, but after thinking about it, the thought of going for a meal he considered preferable.

    In my opinion, the first comma is in the wrong place. It should be after "but" so that the sentence reads:

    - He wanted to phone his boss but, after thinking about it, the thought of going for a meal was preferable.

    If you remove "after thinking about it", you are left with "He wanted to phone his boss but the thought of going for a meal was preferable" which, I'm sure you will agree, is a perfectly acceptable sentence.

    Note that I find "he considered preferable" unnatural at the end so I changed it to "was preferable".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: Punctuation: gapping commas

    He wanted to phone his boss but the thought of going for a meal was preferable.

    Some would insert a comma after 'boss'; I think that's fine. However, with the addition of after thinking about it, we would end up with:

    He wanted to phone his boss, but, after thinking about it, the thought of going for a meal was preferable
    .

    That's logical enough -compare: He wanted to phone his boss, but (after thinking about it) the thought of going for a meal was preferable. However, the commas around 'but' seem excessive. I would go with ems's version:


    He wanted to phone his boss but, after thinking about it, the thought of going for a meal was preferable.

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    #4

    Re: Punctuation: gapping commas

    How come your native language is Tygrinya, red an' dead?

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    #5

    Re: Punctuation: gapping commas

    Thanks, I agree with all the points you make.

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    #6

    Re: Punctuation: gapping commas

    Just me being stupid.

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    #7

    Re: Punctuation: gapping commas

    Thanks.

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    #8

    Re: Punctuation: gapping commas

    Quote Originally Posted by red an' dead View Post
    Just me being stupid.
    Could you now correct the information, please?

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    #9

    Re: Punctuation: gapping commas

    Quote Originally Posted by red an' dead View Post
    Thanks.
    Your appreciation is welcome but there is no need to write a new post to say thanks. Simply click the Like button on any posts you find helpful. It means that we don't have to open the thread again to read your new post and then find that it doesn't include any new information or an additional question.



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