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Flow/rhythm v. standard grammar

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I'm working with a couple of lines at the moment that are giving me a migraine. I feel like altering my punctuation hinders the flow of the sentence as I read it aloud, but knowing that others may not read with the same cadence as I do, perhaps this is not paramount? Would proper grammar take priority here? Any thoughts would be appreciated. The sentences are as follows (original version):

"There were sunny days, and rainy days. Days that were warm, and days that were covered in snow."
-I feel as if the commas lend a pause and breath that is necessary to the wistful tone I am trying to convey.

Updated version:
"There were sunny days and rainy days; days that were warm and days that were covered in snow."
-This feels jilted and less easy to me. In fact, now that I've written it, I'm not sure it's even correct.

Any thoughts on the cadence and punctuation will be much appreciated.  This is for a PB where I imagine the lines being separated alongside images and not placed in a single paragraph.

Thank you!


 
#1 - February 19, 2020, 10:26 AM

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I like your original version better with the repetition of days and the commas.

Do not let this give you a migraine. Happy writing!
#2 - February 19, 2020, 10:58 AM
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I agree with Vijaya.

Even if you decide to omit the original commas, I would use a period or comma rather than a semicolon.  Semicolons seem old-fashioned to me and almost always jolt me out of the reading. (But that's just my personal reaction to them.   ;)  )
#3 - February 19, 2020, 11:11 AM

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I like your original version better with the repetition of days and the commas.

Do not let this give you a migraine. Happy writing!

Thank you for the input! I often get into my own head over these things. We'll call it a character flaw.
#4 - February 19, 2020, 11:21 AM

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I agree with Vijaya.

Even if you decide to omit the original commas, I would use a period or comma rather than a semicolon.  Semicolons seem old-fashioned to me and almost always jolt me out of the reading. (But that's just my personal reaction to them.   ;)  )

Okay, that is good to know. I also feel semicolons  don't fit well, but I know the sentence structure I have to start with is not necessarily correct, but I do prefer the flow. Thank you for the thoughts!
#5 - February 19, 2020, 11:23 AM

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You could use either the semi-colon or two sentences, but I would leave the commas out. There is no grammatical reason to include them, and it's like micromanaging the reader. They will get the idea and automatically slow down on their own. If you think you must absolutely  emphasize the pause, use an M dash. (There were sunny days -- and rainy days.)

PS  You use a comma before "and" when "and" is connecting two independent clauses. That is not the case here. 

I just read that this is for a PB, and that the lines will be separated to correspond to images. In that case, I don't know what's best. Good luck.  :star2
#6 - February 19, 2020, 11:27 AM

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You could use either the semi-colon or two sentences, but I would leave the commas out. There is no grammatical reason to include them, and it's like micromanaging the reader. They will get the idea and automatically slow down on their own. If you think you must absolutely  emphasize the pause, use an M dash. (There were sunny days -- and rainy days.)
 

PS  You use a comma before "and" when "and" is connecting two independent clauses. That is not the case here. 

I just read that this is for a PB, and that the lines will be separated to correspond to images. In that case, I don't know what's best. Good luck.  :star2

Your comment was actually very helpful. I do tend to be a bit of a control freak, and I think you're right about micromanaging the reader (or at least being aware of my tendency to do so). I like the cadence of the commas, or the M dash, but that is me. I am not presenting the manuscript with illustrations, so really my thoughts on how it will be laid out are not necessary either. I just need to decide what feels best, I suppose. Thank you!

#7 - February 19, 2020, 11:33 AM

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Days that were warm, and days that were covered in snow
At first glance, I thought the comma here would be grammatically accurate -- but even though it's not (as you have two phrases rather than two clauses), I personally like the commas.
#8 - February 19, 2020, 01:38 PM
« Last Edit: February 19, 2020, 01:39 PM by andracill »
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The semicolon is incorrect. Semicolons connect two complete sentences, and "days that were warm and days that were covered in snow" isn't a sentence. (Nice image, though.)
#9 - February 19, 2020, 01:43 PM
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I have no idea how this fits into the bigger work, but for flow inside the sentence I'd prefer the second "that were" was  gone.

Just thought I'd add, even if it doesn't apply to your original question.
#10 - February 19, 2020, 04:34 PM

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Psssttt . . . fragments are okay when used lyrically. You could write the following if you wanted to.  There were sunny days. And rainy days. I wouldn't get too hung up on it. 
#11 - February 19, 2020, 05:44 PM
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If I were an editor and I saw those commas, I might worry you don't know the grammar rules. This could be concerning.

I'd either write:
There were sunny days and rainy days, days that were warm and days that were covered in snow."
(Removing the second "that were" has no effect on this.)

Or write: There were sunny days. And rainy days. Days that were warm. And days that were covered in snow. (Again, you can remove the two words.) This shows that you are making a choice, not lacking in knowledge or skill.

Trust your reader to get it. If you really want pauses, go for the longer pauses that come with periods.

My general rule is to be correct and let the editor, illustrator,  and art director decide how the page turns will work and whether your lines will be split in the text layout. That's part of their job.

But, I must repeat, I believe in trusting the reader.
#12 - February 19, 2020, 05:55 PM
« Last Edit: February 20, 2020, 06:01 PM by Debbie Vilardi »
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The semicolon is incorrect.

Thank you. Mom brain has sapped a lot of my grammar, it seems. I'll have to read through my old strunk one of these days.

#13 - February 20, 2020, 08:52 AM

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If I were and editor and I saw those commas, I might worry you don't know the grammar rules. This could be concerning.

I'd either write:  (Removing the second "that were" has no effect on this.)

Or write: There were sunny days. And rainy days. Days that were warm. And days that were covered in snow. (Again, you can remove the two words.) This shows that you are making a choice, not lacking in knowledge or skill.

Trust your reader to get it. If you really want pauses, go for the longer pauses that come with periods.

My general rule is to be correct and let the editor, illustrator,  and art director decide how the page turns will work and whether your lines will be split in the text layout. That's part of their job.

But, I must repeat, I believe in trusting the reader.


Thank you! I do struggle with wanting control over flow/cadence, which I'll have to work on. I think trying to let go and trust the reader is great advice. I appreciate it!

#14 - February 20, 2020, 08:54 AM

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