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Teacherbee_4 Teacherbee_4 is offline
 
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Stupid Grammar Question
Old 08-16-2011, 05:38 AM
 
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I'm an English minor, and I feel really dumb that I have a question about this rule!

I was always taught that when you join two complete sentences with a coordinating conjunction, you use a comma. However, I see so many people not doing this. Has this rule changed? Can you skip the comma if the two sentences being joined are short?

For example, above I said, "I'm an English minor, and I feel really dumb that I have a question about this rule." That is two complete sentences joined by a coordinating conjunction, so I used a comma. The first part has a subject and a verb ("I am") and so does the second: "I feel". Therefore, shouldn't there be a comma before the and? I feel like there should be but so many times, I see people not using the comma. Am I missing something?

The main reason I am asking is because I'm about to send a letter home to my students. I want to say, "My name is Teacherbee, and I will be your teacher this year!" Again, it is two complete sentences joined by a coordinating conjunction, so I should use a comma. Yet, I see sentences with this construction all the time with no commas used.

Confused!


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Old 08-16-2011, 05:41 AM
 
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I learned it your way. A few years ago (I was teaching 3rd) our English grammar book taught it your way and our reading grammar workbook taught it without a comma. I default with what is considered correct on the Stanford Achievement test which is comma and conjunction.
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:42 AM
 
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There should be a comma.
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:43 AM
 
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I can't remember if it is required ( "punctuationally" speaking ) or optional, but it is definitely acceptable and more common than not.

As an addendum to that rule, if one of the sentences has a comma within it, you should use a semicolon before the coordinating conjunction instead of a comma.
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Thanks!
Old 08-16-2011, 05:48 AM
 
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Thanks, everyone!

Also, mmeescargot, thanks for the information about the comma/semi-colon! I think I have a few errors with that in my post!


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Old 08-16-2011, 05:53 AM
 
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I honestly hadn't noticed any mistakes and was not correcting you; I just thought you might find the information helpful / useful.

I tend to notice spelling and grammar mistakes. I'm not as observant when it comes to punctuation mistakes, unless they're glaring.
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:58 AM
 
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I also think a comma should be used, but I think that rule (along with so many others) is being phased out.
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:08 AM
 
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I learned to use a comma in that instance as well. I remember reading the two sentences and it they were complete sentences alone, I used a comma.

Thanks for the semi-colon info-I needed that!
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Clarification
Old 08-16-2011, 06:09 AM
 
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I found a site online that said that following about phasing out commas in certain spots:

Here are the guidelines for deciding whether to omit the comma in a compound sentence.
1. If both independent clauses are quite short, especially if the two clauses are very closely related, and even more so if the subject of both clauses is the same.

~ He threw me the book and I dashed out the door.

~Linda washed the dishes and Naomi cleaned up the living room.

~I've been waiting for this letter but now I wish it hadn't come.


2. Even if only the first clause is quite short, especially if the two clauses are very closely related, and even more so if the subject of both clauses is the same.

~ Debby left home early but she wasn't able to make it to her class on time because the buses were running late.

~You have to write that paper tonight or you will almost certainly lose points for turning it in late.

(In each of these cases, you can use the comma if you prefer, but you also have the option of omitting it.)

Source: grammartips.homestead.com/compoundsentences.html

I guess I can say, "My name is Teacherbee and I will be your teacher this year!" without using a comma since both clauses are short.
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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I've always used both a comma and a conjunction, like you said in your OP. The only problem I see with your letter home to the parents is that you will be introducing yourself as Teacherbee!


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I'd save myself some stress
Old 08-16-2011, 03:06 PM
 
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and write it this way:

My name is Teacherbee; I will be your teacher this year.

:-D
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Many permissible commas can be left out of sentences where they once might have been required, or at least strongly preferred.
Despite what that site says, I would leave the comma in. I strongly believe that the reason the comma can now be left out is purely because more and more people choose to not follow the rules or do not learn the correct rules.
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so true jvar!
Old 08-16-2011, 04:26 PM
 
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Jvar, I agree! I personally love grammar even though the rule changes drive me nuts! I can't stand how many people don't follow grammar rules or have never learned them!.
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I teach it your way
Old 08-16-2011, 04:31 PM
 
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Comma/conjunction to join two complete sentences together!
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:26 AM
 
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Very true jvar!!!
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no
Old 09-14-2011, 10:07 PM
 
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I hate to burst the bubble of those that think it is new to omit the comma - but, no, it isn't.

Warriner's English Grammar and Composition - First Course (7th grade) 1973 (p. 212)

"Use a comma before and, but, or, nor, for, and yet when they join the parts of a compound sentence. A very short compound sentence is sometimes written without a comma."
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:21 AM
 
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Commas are for clarity. Use one whenever it is necessary for your intent to be clear to the reader.

"My name is Teacherbee, and I will be your teacher this year" is clear whether you use the comma or not. There's no possibility someone will think your name is "Teacherbee and I" and therefore be momentarily confused when they reach the second verb. You may feel free to leave out the comma. You may also feel free to leave it in.

Consider this compound sentence: We went to the store with John and Bob bought a candy bar.

It is also composed of two short simple sentences, but the reader could initially think that "We went to the store with John and Bob." The reader will be jolted when he reaches the second verb and have to re-decode it as "Oh, it's just 'we went to the store with John'." In that case, you leave in the comma.

Of course, there are more confusing constructions that require commas. I just went with the first one I could think of.

Grammar and punctuation rules exist to bring clarity to writing, not to cause frustration and irritation to writers and readers.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Grammar and punctuation rules exist to bring clarity to writing, not to cause frustration and irritation to writers and readers.
***quickly running to VistaPrint to make a new poster for my classroom***
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