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Seeking grammar help

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Please help me clarify the different cases for use of commas, dashes (just found out they're called em dashes), and parentheses.

It seems that some of the distinction is ambiguous--or at least there is an option to use more than one. For example, just now, could I have used a comma or parentheses to separate the two clauses of the last sentence I wrote here. That's not the perfect example but I always feel unsure exactly about the nuances that govern this when writing academic papers.

Thanks a lot
post #2 of 21
dashes? hyphens

actually, you seem to be doing ok... (oh, wait there be ellipses)
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by sisenor View Post
Please help me clarify the different cases for use of commas, dashes (just found out they're called em dashes), and parentheses.

It seems that some of the distinction is ambiguous--or at least there is an option to use more than one. For example, just now, could I have used a comma or parentheses to separate the two clauses of the last sentence I wrote here. That's not the perfect example but I always feel unsure exactly about the nuances that govern this when writing academic papers.

Thanks a lot
that comma should not be there, 1 its next to a bracket that performs the same function. they should never be together. 2 its next to and which is a conjunction, as is the comma itself. commas should really never be next to and, but or or.

yes that last sentence breaks all normal rules but hey thats life sometimes.
post #4 of 21
Not exactly what you asked but;

"Seeking grammar help" should be "Seeking help with grammar" or "Seeking grammatical help"
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by sisenor View Post
Please help me clarify the different cases for use of commas, dashes (just found out they're called em dashes), and parentheses.

It seems that some of the distinction is ambiguous--or at least there is an option to use more than one. For example, just now, could I have used a comma or parentheses to separate the two clauses of the last sentence I wrote here. That's not the perfect example but I always feel unsure exactly about the nuances that govern this when writing academic papers.

Thanks a lot
I would have used a question mark for the question you pose ("For example, just now, could I have used....?") And, you may want to revisit and edit the following: "(.....they're called em dashes)".

I fear you have a great deal more to worry about than punctuation et al..
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwirugby View Post
And, you may want to revisit and edit the following: "(.....they're called em dashes)".
Why?
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samgotit View Post
Why?
Because, I believe it would be correct grammar to say, "they're (a contraction of they are) called dashes", unless "they (not sure who they are) called em dashes." Even so if they called em dashes, you would need an apostrophe before the 'em because that too is a contraction of the word them.
post #8 of 21
It seems that some of the distinctions are ambiguous or there is an option to use more than one. For example could I have used a comma or parentheses in the last sentence I just wrote? That is not the perfect example, but I always feel unsure about all the grammatical nuances when writing academic papers.
post #9 of 21
Kiwi, somebody might not realize you are joking about "em" and "them".

So for those who do not know:

"en" and "em" are proper English words, used in the printing industry. You will find them very useful in Scrabble.

In a variable width font (i.e., proportional spacing), the width of an upper-case "N" is referred to as "en", as in "en space" or "en dash", and the width of an upper-case "M" is referred to as "em", as in "em space" or "em dash". Often em is exactly twice en, but it doesn't have to be.

OP -- GIYF. There are many fine references that explain hyphen and dash (both short and long, en and em). Note that when typing on a keyboard you use two dashes to emulate a long (em) dash. Some folks say without the surrounding spaces.

My rule of thumb: a phrase set off on both sides by a long dash (no spaces on either side when typeset) is to be thought of as a comment, another voice adding a thought. A long dash used between two thoughts, as I did above, is to signal "Pause. Something new and important is about to be added". Contrast with a semi-colon splice, which is used to separate two equal thoughts that can't quite stand on their own as sentences.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwirugby View Post
Because, I believe it would be correct grammar to say, "they're (a contraction of they are) called dashes", unless "they (not sure who they are) called em dashes." Even so if they called em dashes, you would need an apostrophe before the 'em because that too is a contraction of the word them.
This is something you should read:
Dashes | Punctuation Rules
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by redshifter View Post
It seems that some of the distinctions are ambiguous or there is an option to use more than one. For example could I have used a comma or parentheses in the last sentence I just wrote? That is not the perfect example, but I always feel unsure about all the grammatical nuances when writing academic papers.
I could be wrong, but I think you are missing an object in the second dependent clause of the first sentence.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by chesebert View Post
I could be wrong, but I think you are missing an object in the second dependent clause of the first sentence.
yes it refers to his first paragraph i considered putting it in brackets [editor's note] but in the end felt it was more important to play halo 3
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by chesebert View Post
I could be wrong,[sic] but I think you are missing an object in the second dependent clause of the first sentence.
Your observation may be correct, but while making this observation you have carelessly overlooked the blatant fact that you're missing seven extra commas after the first clause of the sentence you have written above.

Corrected:

"I could be wrong,,,,,,,, but I think you are missing [...]"
post #14 of 21
Learn to employ the semicolon correctly; it is rather useful.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
Learn to employ the semicolon correctly; it is rather useful.
Correct usage of semicolon is pretty douchey; wouldn't you agree?
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