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    #1

    Comma splice?

    Hello teachers,

    Good evening!

    I am having a doubt regarding punctuation. Here is the sentence:

    In some instances visibility is to empower, in others it is disempower.

    I am aware of the comma splice. But I am not very sure about this particular sentence.


    1. Is the comma OK in this sentence, or is a semicolon required?
    2. While we are at it, the sentence also needs the word to before disempower, doesn't it? (I realised it only now!)


    Thank you very much for your time.

  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Comma splice?

    It is an instance of comma splice, to be frank. I don't actually get what you mean by the sentences, but here's how I think they should work punctuation-wise:

    In some instances visibility is to empower; in others, it is to dis-empower.
    or
    In some instances visibility is to empower. In others, it is to dis-empower.

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    #3

    Re: Comma splice?

    There are similar constructions where the comma, instead of a semi-colon, is used though.

    To err is human, to forgive divine.
    http://www.dictionary.com/browse/to-...forgive-divine

    Nothing venture, nothing gained.
    http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/...nothing+gained
    Last edited by tedmc; 25-Mar-2016 at 07:17.
    I am not a teacher.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Comma splice?

    Comma splices are often used in comparisons such as those. I'd call them an exception to a rather strong rule.

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    #5

    Re: Comma splice?

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    There are similar constructions where the comma, instead of a semi-colon, is used though.

    To err is human, to forgive divine.
    http://www.dictionary.com/browse/to-...forgive-divine

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/...nothing+gained
    These constructions might be similar, but they are not the same as that in the OP. In the first, the second part is not a clause as it has no verb of its own — the verb 'is' being understood from the first clause.

    This is a comma splice and thus incorrect: To err is human, to forgive is divine.

    The second saying (which you misquoted) has no verbs, so does not need to follow the usual rules. It's an aphorism rather than a sentence. Here's another — traditionally what a bride wears at her wedding:

    Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

    The original sentence could be correctly written with a comma by removing the verb from the second part, like this:

    In some instances visibility is to empower, in others, to disempower.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 25-Mar-2016 at 09:31.

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    #6

    Re: Comma splice?

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    I don't actually get what you mean by the sentences.
    The sentences are from a book on metrics (biometrics included)---the power they have over people nowadays.

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    #7

    Re: Comma splice?

    Thank you very much, Mr. Rover, for your explanation with examples.

    The last example in particular is quite new to me. Thanks again!

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Comma splice?

    It is true that a semicolon (rather than a comma) is used to separate two independent clauses. However, exceptions are often made on the basis of brevity.

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