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    #1

    Neglecting the conjunction for stylistic purpose?

    Hello everyone,

    I understand that one of the primary purposes of the comma is to join two sentences whose content is very related; and, generally, a conjunction follows this comma. I have a sentence which curious about:

    "Let one of them perish then, let another live, as their fortune wills; let him, as is his right and as his heart
    pleases, work out whatever decrees he will on Danaans and Trojans."

    This comes from Richmond Lattimore's translation of Homer's Liad; specifically, it is found on page 212 and is line 429.

    If I understand correctly, "Let one of them perish" and "let another live" are actually two simple sentences joined by the comma. Thus, should there technically be the conjunction "and" just after the comma and just before the word "let;" nd is the conjunction left out for stylistic purposes?

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Also, I have another question. If I understand correctly, "as their fortune wills" is a dependent clause, because it has the subject "fortune" and the verb "wills" (at least, I think that this is the verb). My question is, why do I sometimes see dependent clauses beginning with "as," like the given one, set off with a comma, and on some occasions it is not?

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Neglecting the conjunction for stylistic purpose?

    Quote Originally Posted by emackenzie View Post
    I understand that one of the primary purposes of the comma is to join two sentences whose content is very related; and, generally, a conjunction follows this comma. I have a sentence which curious about:
    I would have thought that it was the conjunction joining the sentences and that, sometimes, a comma comes before the conjunction. In English, commas don't join sentences.


    "Let one of them perish then, let another live, as their fortune wills; let him, as is his right and as his heart
    pleases, work out whatever decrees he will on Danaans and Trojans."

    This comes from Richmond Lattimore's translation of Homer's Liad; specifically, it is found on page 212 and is line 429.

    If I understand correctly, "Let one of them perish" and "let another live" are actually two simple sentences joined by the comma. Thus, should there technically be the conjunction "and" just after the comma and just before the word "let;" nd is the conjunction left out for stylistic purposes?

    No, that's wrong. You're only dealing with the first two clauses of a multi-clause sentence. Would you say that in "Tom went to work, Jane stayed at home, and the children went to school." that the first comma was joining two sentences? And even more oddly, that the second comma is also joining two sentences with an optional 'and' inserted? That's all backwards.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Also, I have another question. If I understand correctly, "as their fortune wills" is a dependent clause, because it has the subject "fortune" and the verb "wills" (at least, I think that this is the verb). My question is, why do I sometimes see dependent clauses beginning with "as," like the given one, set off with a comma, and on some occasions it is not?
    There's no rule about whether a dependent clause in general should or should not be preceded by a comma. Often the presence of absence of a comma will change the meaning (from a restrictive to a non-restrictive clause), so in some cases it is mandated that a comma either be there or not be there.

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    #3

    Re: Neglecting the conjunction for stylistic purpose?

    I agree with Raymott that commas don't join sentences- when people do this, it is called a comma splice and is regarded as an error by many.

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    #4

    Re: Neglecting the conjunction for stylistic purpose?

    To answer your last question first, because common language is goofy.

    The original is not aberrant. It was a comma happy age. Today is less happy.

    Before I continue, HOW DARE YOU QUESTION RICHARD LATTIMORE !!!

    That being said, the passage under review has two commands in parallel structure. "Let this, let that." No conjunction is needed. Let it be.

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