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comma question

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Filk, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. Filk

    Filk Troubadour

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    Hello! I have a simple grammar question.

    Does a spoken phrase count as an independent clause? Should there be a comma after muttered in the following:

    "I'm quite thankful," Filk muttered and he curled up by the fire.

    I'm editing and have encountered this a few times. Would it be best to get rid of "he?" Thanks in advance!
     
  2. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    I suggest writing the sentence like this:

    Additionally, to avoid structure repetition, you can change small bits like this:

     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013
    Filk likes this.
  3. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    "Filk muttered" is an independent clause. In old school grammar, the correct way to punctuate what you wrote would be:

    Filk muttered, and he curled up by the fire.

    Nowadays, most stylists say that you can drop the comma if both clauses are short. Personally, I like keeping the comma, but I think you have some leeway.

    I do think you're better off dropping the "he," though. It adds nothing to your sentence. Contrary to T. Allen's advice, I don't think you should go with "curling." I tend to hate that structure unless it's absolutely necessary.

    I'd go with: Filk muttered and curled up by the fire.

    Hope this helps!

    Brian
     
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  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    To join in on the "let's see who can change a word the best" game, I would go with:

    "I'm quite thankful," Filk muttered before he curled up by the fire.
     
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  5. Asterisk

    Asterisk Troubadour

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    Popping in for a moment here....

    That one jumped out as my favorite.
     
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  6. yachtcaptcolby

    yachtcaptcolby Minstrel

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    I think I'd make that two sentences. I find a lot of cases where the comma is questionable really ought to just be two sentences.

    "I'm quite thankful," Fik muttered. Then he curled up by the fire.
     
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  7. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    I am a fan of breaking sentences down when grammar is in question. However, I wouldn't recommend using "Then" to start the next sentence (or any word like "then"). Writing like that can often be boring to the reader because it reads like a list of movements.

    If I were going to break the sentence down, I'd probably elaborate on the action. Something like this:

    "I'm quite thankful," Filk muttered. He slid closer to the fire, curling up near its edge.
     
  8. Filk

    Filk Troubadour

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    Thanks for your help guys! BWFoster - thanks for the clarification. I figured that was the case, but wanted to be sure.
     
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