Author Topic: Correct grammar website  (Read 1152 times)

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Offline Salpy

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Correct grammar website
« on: October 31, 2009, 05:47:12 PM »
I know I have way too much time on my hands, but I am having fun reading the stuff on this website about grammar:

http://www.towson.edu/ows/index.htm

I'm learning a lot, like I think I've been using semicolons wrong all these years.   :)

I just thought I'd share. 

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Correct grammar website
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2009, 06:12:28 PM »
Well thank you for the website, though I must admit that some of what it was saying went right over my head! For example...

"Use a semicolon... Between independent clauses containing internal punctuation – even when the clauses are joined by coordinating conjunctions."
 
Huh? ???  ;D I enjoy writing, but I admit that my grasp of the actual rules and terms are elementary at best.
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Offline Liz

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Re: Correct grammar website
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2009, 06:37:05 PM »
Well thank you for the website, though I must admit that some of what it was saying went right over my head! For example...

"Use a semicolon... Between independent clauses containing internal punctuation – even when the clauses are joined by coordinating conjunctions."
 
Huh? ???  ;D I enjoy writing, but I admit that my grasp of the actual rules and terms are elementary at best.


In my experience, people are most likely to make mistakes by using a comma when a semicolon should be used. For example, I need a comma in the current sentence. This is because 'for example' is a phrase that makes no sense on its own: it needs to be modifying 'I need a comma in the current sentence'. So, I use a comma to show that there are two units, the first of which depends upon the other.

However, as soon as I want to link two grammatical units that are both sentences in their own right, I must use a semicolon.

Basically, if you have two pieces of text which are complete sentences in their own right (eg, 'I am quite pathetically interested in grammar' and 'Some people think I am a terrible pedant'), these can be joined by a semicolon ('I am quite pathetically interested in grammar; some people think I am a terrible pedant'). This removes the need for any kind of connecting word, like 'and' or 'but'.

A semicolon is used when two grammatical units are of equal 'value', that is, when neither one is modifying the other. In the above example, the two pieces of text could each be a single, stand-along sentence: neither is incomplete without the other.

It would be incorrect to join them together with a comma (this is not a sufficiently 'heavy' punctuation mark to mark the work of each grammatical unit'), so either a conjunction like 'and' or 'but' is used, or a semicolon.
 

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Correct grammar website
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2009, 06:45:08 PM »
Liz,

Well, see, that made sense to me! Thanks :)  No offense meant, of course, to Salpy and the site she provided. I'm sure that site is very informative if you understand the terminology (which I guess any 6th grader would :-[  :) )
« Last Edit: October 31, 2009, 06:45:46 PM by Asteriktos »
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Offline Liz

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Re: Correct grammar website
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2009, 06:49:00 PM »
Liz,

Well, see, that made sense to me! Thanks :)  No offense meant, of course, to Salpy and the site she provided. I'm sure that site is very informative if you understand the terminology (which I guess any 6th grader would :-[  :) )

Thanks, I'm glad it made sense. But I wasn't really trying to sum up what was on the site; I was just commenting on a common mistake that people make, which is easy to correct once you know what's going on.

Grammar is always more complicated than I could ever understand by learning the rules - all I have is a well-reinforced reflex that tells me when my mother would say, 'NO!', plus a little formal teaching that sometimes tells me why!