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Old 12-12-2012, 06:30 AM   #16
kennyc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhempel24 View Post
so what is the difference between the comma and the dashes, don't the both do the same thing?
It's an opinion.

Last edited by kennyc; 12-12-2012 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:04 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhempel24 View Post
so what is the difference between the comma and the dashes, don't the both do the same thing?
Dashes are more emphatic. Use commas when the text between them is a "normal" part of the sentence, with neither more nor less emphasis than the rest of it. Use dashes when you want to make the text enclosed between them more emphatic than the rest of the sentence. Similarly, use parentheses when the enclosed text has less emphasis; think of what's in parentheses as being an "aside" to the reader.

Eg, compare:

He drove the car (very quickly) along the road.
He drove the car, very quickly, along the road.
He drove the car--very quickly--along the road.

The "very quickly" goes from "low emphasis" to "high emphasis" between these sentences.
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyc View Post
It's am opinion.
In my opinion there's nothing wrong with the sentence (it's not only one sentence but anyway...).

If you re-arrange it to be: "Bad things happen to people when things get messed up, like they have with you." it is more obvious structurally and as a side effect, Word thinks it's just peachy.

The information is the same. Personally, I like the original version as I think that is more how a person would say it.

More to the point, would it stop a reader in their tracks because they would sense something wrong here and may have to re-read the fragment? Probably not and I think that is what matters.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:06 PM   #19
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Excellent! Thanks everyone for their feedback!!
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:31 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr ploppy View Post
There's a plugin you can get for Word called Stylewriter. It's no substitute for a real person, but it's better than the one built in.
Agree with you because StyleWriter investigate for thousands of writing faults, counting complex words, jargon and abstract words, wordy phrases, hidden verbs, passive verbs, clichés and long sentences
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:57 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkScribe View Post
If you take the commas out and use en or em dashes it will accept it because the construction - although still clumsy - is now valid.
Depends upon whose grammar you're using, I guess. The only one I can remember dashes being taught at all was the hyphen, which had a caveat that you should use as few as possible. AKA none.

This was repeated in the 1996 Little,Brown Handbook (which I took great pleasure in burning when I got out of high school). No dashes, just hyphens. Parentheses were also right out, because the MLA has reserved them for parenthetical citation.

Either way, IMO the Word grammar checker just doesn't like complex sentences.

Last edited by teh603; 01-17-2013 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:47 PM   #22
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Generally I don't use it.

Sometimes though on one of those complicated sentences that we were taught not to use, with danglers, descenders, ascenders, gerunds, et. al., and we have gotten caught up in the moment and wish to tough it out rather than using the KISS rule, and the wife is busy, I might try the grammar checker to see if it brings an insight.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:02 AM   #23
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Some people really rate Grammarly - which you can plug into word.

I tried it and it did pick up on the many, many occasions where I'd missed out a comma, but at the same time it was extremely slow in a large document and I was writing a lot of dialogue in Scottish dialect which messed with it a bit.

I'd suggest finding a good beta reader if you can. You can highlight a few of the phrases you're worried about for them to cast an eye over. Or, bite the bullet and go for an editor. They might pick up on consistent problems with your style which would make you a better writer overall. It's just soooo expensive!
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:52 PM   #24
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I wouldn't trust a grammar checker too much, anymore than I'd rely on a spellchecker to find and fix all my mistakes. It's not a bad thing to use either, but a lot of the time it will come back to what you know about writing and what you're trying to do.

That's especially true for fiction writing, which may tend toward being informal or purposefully "wrong" for effect. For a formal writing project, like a business report, it might be a lot more useful.

Now, if I could find something that would read my mind and automatically insert commas for me, that would be really great!
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