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Comma issue: Joining three independent clauses


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Steve walked to the store, and he bought some milk, but he forget the eggs.

 

I've tried to find a comma rule to help, but I have not found an example ro fit this kind of sentence. My thinking? I would have used a comma between store and and. Then I would have used a semi colon between milk and but. The rule would be use a semicolon to join independent clauses when there is an internal comma.

 

Which is correct.... all commas or semicolon and comma?

Edited by Sweet Home Alabama
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I vote for all commas.

A semicolon is not used if the clauses are connected with a conjunction like "and" or "but".

You can have a semicolon before an independent clause that starts with "however", "therefore" etc.

 

ETA: It's not a good sentence. I would omit the "he" in the second clause and consolidate.

Steve went to the store and bought milk, but he forgot the eggs.

Or even more concise:

Steve went to the store and bought milk but forgot the eggs.

Edited by regentrude
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Thanks, Debbie.

 

 

Can either of you state the rule or link to one? I only found rules joining two independent clauses. I never found anything that directly kinked to joining three. I also found a rule to support what Regentrude said about using a semicolon to separate sentences when a comma is used after an introductory word.

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Can either of you state the rule or link to one? I only found rules joining two independent clauses. I never found anything that directly kinked to joining three. I also found a rule to support what Regentrude said about using a semicolon to separate sentences when a comma is used after an introductory word.

 

The rules I found do not specify that they only apply to linking two independent clauses; they are for linking independent clauses. There is no restriction that it can only be two.

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/607/02/

 

I guess one of the reasons this is not discussed much is that sentences with three independent clauses are usually not very good writing and would benefit from editing (unless they are actually a series of short, related statements that can be linked by commas even without conjunction, for example "he came, he saw, he conquered" )

Edited by regentrude
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I disagree and suggest  revision like this:

 

Steve walked into the store; he bought some milk, but forgot the eggs.

 

As Regentrude noted- the "and" is not correct with the semi-colon and would need to be removed for correct usage

 

I think this sentence as is is technically a comma splice which is a form of a run-on sentence.

 

Steve walked into the store, and he bought some milk, but he forgot the eggs.    

 

semi colons can be used to separate two independent clauses

they can also be used two pair two similar/equal ideas next to each other in a sentence

they can be used to provide distinction/separation/definition in a sentence with multiple commas

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The original isn't a comma splice, because the commas aren't replacing needed conjunctions. It is a run on sentence. (3 or more independent clauses was What I was taught for run ons.)

 

I would also combine two or all of the clauses, since they all share the same subject. There are a couple options of combined sentences. My personal favorite is

 

Steve walked to the store and bought some milk, but he forgot the eggs.

 

I prefer this one in part for the natural rhythm of the sentence.

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The original isn't a comma splice, because the commas aren't replacing needed conjunctions. It is a run on sentence. (3 or more independent clauses was What I was taught for run ons.)

 

I would also combine two or all of the clauses, since they all share the same subject. There are a couple options of combined sentences. My personal favorite is

 

Steve walked to the store and bought some milk, but he forgot the eggs.

 

I prefer this one in part for the natural rhythm of the sentence.

The above is how I would do it:

 

Steve walked to the store and bought some milk, but he forgot the eggs.

 

When you're linking clauses with conjunctions, if the two clauses are short enough you don't need the comma. I don't believe you need the comma between store and and because the clauses are so short. Bought some milk is only three words.

Edited by Garga
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The above is how I would do it:

 

Steve walked to the store and bought some milk, but he forgot the eggs.

 

When you're linking clauses with conjunctions, if the two clauses are short enough you don't need the comma. I don't believe you need the comma between store and and because the clauses are so short. Bought some milk is only three words.

In the revised sentence above a comma isn't needed between store and and because Steve is the subject of both verbs walked and bought.

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The above is how I would do it:

 

Steve walked to the store and bought some milk, but he forgot the eggs.

 

When you're linking clauses with conjunctions, if the two clauses are short enough you don't need the comma. I don't believe you need the comma between store and and because the clauses are so short. Bought some milk is only three words.

 

No, the reason you don't need the comma is that "and bought some milk" is not an independent clause since it has no subject. It has nothing to do with the length of the clause.

If you wrote

"Steve walked to the store and wandered aimlessly from the hot cereal isle to the chilly frozen foods section"

it would not require a comma either because the clauses share a subject.

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No, this is a student in jr. high.  I asked on the high school board because I know you all have years of expreience and have proofread enough to have seen it all. :)

 

 

 

 

 

Since you posted this on the high school forum, are you editing a high schooler's paper?  I wouldn't accept any of the sentences from a high schooler.   ;)   I agree with Sebastian that connecting a long series of sentences with conjunctions is the definition of run-on.  

 

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