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Iíve been waiting for someone else to say this, but now I will. I used to
teach freshman English before I became a librarian. That form of punctuation,
the comma splice, is all right in British writing and is present in a great
deal of it. If the American students talk about it, it would seem a good
chance to talk about differing customs, even in punctuation.

Faith Williams, librarian
Malcolm X Elem. Sch.
1351 Alabama Ave. S.E.
Wash. DC 20032
faithw@cais.com, fmwill@aol.com


Vickie Rabourn wrote:

> I just finished Harry Potter and the Socerer's Stone and was disappointed
> to find scores of complete sentences separated by commas rather than full
> stops.  This is done in dialog (no matter who is speaking), as well as
> narrative.  For example, on page 264 of the Scholastic paperback edition,
> in paragraph one, Ron says, "You could look more cheerful, Harry, we've got
> a week before we find out how badly we've done, there's no need to worry
> yet."  This cannot even be classified as a run-on sentence.  Since there
> are three subjects and three predicates, there are three complete sentences
> that should be separated by full stops.  Several lines below, there is
> narrative that reads, "Ron couldn't get worked up, it was too hot."  Once
> again, two sentences are linked by a comma rather than a period, semicolon,
> or conjunction.  This error, repeated over and over, was very distracting
> to me.  I wonder if any of you noticed this too and found it disconcerting.
>  I hope the other Harry Potter books don't have the same error.  The thing
> that bothers me the most about this is that when I help students with their
> research papers, I see this same mistake all the time.  I am forever giving
> students a brief explanantion of what constitutes a full sentence and how
> to do the appropriate punctuation.  Now when these same students read Harry
> Potter, they can easily see countless published examples of this error by
> the hottest writer around.  How frustrating.  I wonder why Scholastic's
> editors aren't more on the ball.
>
> So, tell me, is it just me, or did this bother any of you too?
>
> Vickie Rabourn
> vrabourn@calinet.com
> Los Osos Middle School Librarian
> San Luis Coastal Unified School District
> San Luis Obispo County, CA
>
> "And he reads to them, as he does every night,
> as if watering them, as if turning earth at their feet."
> -- James Salter
>
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