FR/EN: comma splice

TonyStarks

Member
English
Sorry for not putting the phrase in the title .. it's too long and not exactly ideal for my question. I want to know if the following sentence is correct as it is, specially the part after the last comma :

Le meilleur buteur de la Ligue c'est l'attaquant du RC Kouba, Salim Hanifi (23 ans) avec 17 réalisations, il vient de signer à la JS Kabylie.

To me it looks like a sentence fragment (I think that's the term) .. and I see way too often in French. In English, that last part would be grammatically incorrect, I just wanted to know if that's also the case in French.

Thanks
 
  • pointvirgule

    Senior Member
    langue française
    It is a complete sentence (albeit not a great one). Le meilleur buteur, c'est Hanifi, + il vient de signer.

    You didn't say which part of the last clause you have a problem with. Is it the fact that signer is used as an intransitive verb? This usage of signer is perfectly legit and is mentioned in French dictionaries.

    Although, imo, the right preposition should be avec: il vient de signer avec la JS Kabylie.
     

    Oddmania

    Senior Member
    French
    Hi,

    As the sentence isn't finished after 17 réalisations, you need a relative pronoun : ...,qui vient de signer à la JS Kabylie (= who has just signed...)
     

    pointvirgule

    Senior Member
    langue française
    Désolé de vous contredire, Odd, mais un pronom relatif n'est pas obligatoire ici – souhaitable sans doute, mais pas requis. La proposition il vient de signer... est simplement juxtaposée au moyen d'une virgule, comme la grammaire française le permet. Toutefois, il serait d'un meilleur style de faire de cette proposition une phrase séparée : ... 17 réalisations. Il vient de signer...

    Il n'en demeure pas moins que la structure de la phrase originale est grammaticale.
     
    Last edited:

    TonyStarks

    Member
    English
    It is a complete sentence (albeit not a great one). Le meilleur buteur, c'est Hanifi, + il vient de signer.

    You didn't say which part of the last clause you have a problem with. Is it the fact that signer is used as an intransitive verb? This usage of signer is perfectly legit and is mentioned in French dictionaries.

    Although, imo, the right preposition should be avec: il vient de signer avec la JS Kabylie.

    Sorry, I guess I should have put more information in my original post. My mother tongue is English so I use that as a basis when I'm reading French (which might be wrong :D). If I were to translate that sentence into English I'd get something like this (the words don't really matter, I'm looking more at the structure of the sentence) :

    The top scorer of the league is the RC Kouba forward, Salim Hanifi with 17 goals, he just signed with JS Kabylie.

    In English, the above sentence is incorrect, specifically the last part ", he just signed with JS Kabylie." I think the correct term is a sentence fragment but I could be wrong about the terminology (been a while since I finished school). So, I was wondering if it's OK or not to write it like that in French.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    I agree with pointvirgule. This type of sentence fragment is allowed in French, although Oddmania's suggestion would certainly be a better way of structuring the sentence.
     

    jann

    co-mod'
    English - USA
    The top scorer of the league is the RC Kouba forward, Salim Hanifi with 17 goals, he just signed with JS Kabylie.

    In English, the above sentence is incorrect, specifically the last part ", he just signed with JS Kabylie." I think the correct term is a sentence fragment.
    You're exactly correct that this sentence is unacceptable in English. The problem is not that it's a "fragment" or that it's "incomplete," but rather that it is in fact too complete. There are two separate and complete sentences here. English does not allow us to join separate sentences with mere comma (doing so is incorrect, and is called a "comma splice"). English requires gives us two options when we want to join two complete sentences: we can use a semi-colon or a colon in place of the comma (depending on the relation between the two ideas), or we can use a comma together with a conjunction such as "and." Obviously we can also just leave them as two separate sentences.

    French doesn't let us join sentences with a comma either. As a few people have suggested, it would be better to split this into two separate sentences in French. :)
     

    pointvirgule

    Senior Member
    langue française
    French doesn't let us join sentences with a comma either.
    Je me sens tenu d'apporter une nuance. Le français est, me semble-t-il, plus tolérant que l'anglais en matière de comma splice (juxtaposition au moyen d'une virgule). C'est en fait d'usage courant dans la langue de Poquelin.

    Le chien aboie, la caravane passe. Fais tes bagages, on part demain.

    La phrase que voici, par exemple, ne me ferait pas trop tiquer, quoiqu'on pourrait employer un point-virgule :
    Le meilleur buteur de la Ligue, c'est l'attaquant du RC Kouba Salim Hanifi, il est le favori des supporters.
    (La proposition juxtaposée complète l'idée de la principale : il y a un rapport entre le fait qu'il est le meilleur buteur et le fait qu'il est le favori.)

    En ce qui a trait à l'anglais, n'oublions que l'une des phrases les plus célèbres de la littérature anglosaxonne est un comma splice. ;)
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Les phrases du style Le chien aboie, la caravane passe et Fais tes bagages, on part demain juxtaposent deux phrases intimement liées. C'est un procédé licite en français, mais il n'est pas toujours possible. En particulier, dans l'exemple qui nous occupe, la première phrase (Le meilleur buteur, c'est l'attaquant) est d'une part déjà scindée en deux et il serait très malvenu de la faire suivre d'une virgule et de rajouter une autre phrase (Il vient de signer). D'autre part, la seconde phrase n'est pas du tout intimement liée à la première. Il n'y a donc aucune raison de les joindre par une virgule; ce serait du plus mauvais effet.
     
    Last edited:

    TonyStarks

    Member
    English
    Thanks for all the responses. I guess being a native English speaker, I could never wrap my head around this concept .. and I probably never will :D.
     

    silver lining

    Member
    French - Canada
    Hello everyone,

    I would like to call upon your infinite wisdom to help me determine if the following sentence contains a comma splice.

    Don’t take our word for it, ask your family and friends.



    Is the French equivalent guilty of the same grammatical crime?

    Ne vous fiez pas qu’à nous, parlez-en à vos amis.


    My instinct would be to replace the comma with a colon in both cases, but I’d like to make sure that such a modification is truly necessary before proceeding.

    Thank you all!
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    In French, the comma is possible but best avoided. You should use either a semicolon or a full stop:

    Ne vous fiez pas qu'à nous ; parlez-en à vos amis.
    Ne vous fiez pas qu'à nous. Parlez-en à vos amis.

    Regarding the English, it is indeed a comma splice and is considered incorrect.
     
    Last edited:
    I often run across French sentences that would be considered comma splices in English, or at least they would in American English.

    Example:
    Ne me parle pas comme ça, j'en ai assez !

    Translated this would be:
    Don't talk to me like that, I've had enough!

    In English that's an error known as a comma splice, which is too independent clauses strung together with a comma. Acceptable ways to correct it are as follows:

    1. Split it into two sentences:
    Don't talk to me like that. I've had enough!

    2. Keep them together with a semicolon:
    Don't talk to me like that; I've had enough!

    3. Keep the together with a conjunction, in this case, "because."
    Don't talk to me like that because I've had enough!

    The comma splice is to be avoided in American English. However, some of the rules of punctuation are different in the UK. I'm not sure if the Brits are as picky about comma splices. Perhaps someone from the UK could weigh in.

    Back to French. Are comma splices to be avoided in French just like they are in US English or is the French example I posted perfectly acceptable? Is there any difference between how it's done in France versus Canada?
     

    atcheque

    Senior Member
    français (France)
    Bonjour,

    This comma splice is correct in (France) French.:tick: You can however use like in English the other methods you propose but the use of semi-colon _; tends to disappear.
    The dot leads to a bigger independence between the two sentences unlike with because.
    The comma is use as an equivalence of the two parts. Semi-colon _; appears as a succession, a complement to the first part.
    Because implies a logical relation, interaction.
     
    Last edited:

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    To me, the French sentence is using poor typography. The comma splice may be more acceptable in French than it is in English but it is still sloppy. You should avoid it.

    The first option with the full stop is definitely the way to go in French. The conjunction is also possible in general but I wouldn't use it in the example you provided because there isn't really any chain of cause and effect. As to the semicolon, it is not really appropriate here because, in French, we use it either to separate list items, especially when each item already contains commas, or to provide an explanation.
     

    jann

    co-mod'
    English - USA
    3. Keep them together with a conjunction, in this case, "because."
    Actually, we have to be careful with that one. It's often considered incorrect in American English unless you also add a comma. This is particularly the case when the conjunction is "and," because "and" alone is not sufficient to join together two independent clauses (without the comma, you get a run-on sentence). ;)
     
    Last edited:

    gary17

    Senior Member
    Taiwan-Mandarin & Taiwanese
    I believe that in French you can't put two verbs in the same sentence without a conjuction.(unless it's a dual-verb construction)
    But I saw this sentence in a French article:
    Elle ne se contente plus d'orner les murs, elle fait aussi des incursions dans la conception graphique.

    Is this grammatically incorrect?
    Maybe se contente should be changed into its present participle form and the sentence becomes:
    Ne se contentant plus d'orner les murs, elle fait aussi des incursions dans la conception graphique.
     

    Testing1234567

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    This is same as what is called run-on sentences in English, and is grammatically incorrect. Please see the link for more information.

    Ne se contentant plus d'orner les murs, elle fait aussi des incursions dans la conception graphique.
    I would add the word "En" at the beginning of the sentence, forming "En ne se contentant plus ...", but I'm no native, so attendons les natifs! :)
     

    Lacuzon

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Bonjour,

    I agree, this kind of sentences is correct.

    But no need of adding en. The meaning would be different.

    En ne se contentant plus d'orner les murs, elle fait aussi des incursions dans la conception graphique. (Cause-> consequence)
    -> Parce qu'elle ne se contente plus d'orner les murs, elle fait aussi des incursions dans la conception graphique.

    Ne se contentant plus d'orner les murs, elle fait aussi des incursions dans la conception graphique. (It's just a fact)
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    The comma splice is not as incorrect in French as it is in English. The comma would however be best replaced by a semi-colon or possibly a colon:

    Elle ne se contente plus d'orner les murs ; elle fait aussi des incursions dans la conception graphique.
     

    Chimel

    Senior Member
    Français
    Pour moi, et en ce qui concerne le français, non seulement l'usage de la virgule pour séparer deux propositions n'est pas forcément inélégant (il peut l'être, certes, mais il ne l'est pas en soi), mais il peut même servir à créer d'intéressants effets de style.

    Considérons la phrase: Depuis que tu m'as quitté, je n'ai plus envie de rien, je ne dors plus, je ne mange plus, les journées me semblent interminables, plus rien ne m'intéresse... En dehors du fait qu'il s'agit d'un lamentable alignement de clichés, la succession des virgules crée un rythme et un effet différents, et peut-être délibérément voulus par "l'auteur", de ce que produirait l'usage du point ou du point-virgule.

    Est-ce réellement illicite en anglais? Il me semble - mais je devrais vérifier - que les écrivains adeptes du "stream of consciousness" recouraient régulièrement à ce procédé pour restituer le flot de la pensée dans l'esprit d'un personnage.
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Dans ton exemple, Chimel, il s'agit d'une énumération de phrases coordonnées et non de phrases séparées. Il est donc parfaitement licite de les séparer par des virgules. :) D'ailleurs, s'il n'y avait pas de points de suspension à la fin, on mettrait sans doute un et entre les deux dernières.
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I'd consider an English version of your sentence acceptable, too, Chimel, for the same reason Maître Capello described.
     

    Chimel

    Senior Member
    Français
    Dans ton exemple, Chimel, il s'agit d'une énumération de phrases coordonnées et non de phrases séparées. Il est donc parfaitement licite de les séparer par des virgules.
    Désolé, Maître Capello, je suis peut-être mal réveillé mais je ne vois pas la différence de structure avec "Elle ne se contente plus d'orner les murs , elle fait aussi des incursions dans la conception graphique" où tu recommandais l'usage du point-virgule plutôt que de la virgule, jugée admissible mais peu élégante. Si ce n'est bien sûr qu'ici l'énumération se réduit à deux éléments, mais je suppose que ce n'est pas ça l'élément déterminant.

    Hier encore, j'ai écrit: Dans cet espace convivial, des bambins s'amusent à des jeux de psychomotricité, leurs mamans papotent tranquillement, d'autres voisins viennent boire une tasse de café ou échanger quelques mots... Je ne sais pas s'il s'agit d'une énumération de phrases coordonnées ou de phrases séparées, mais l'usage de la virgule pour séparer ces divers éléments descriptifs et restituer une certaine "ambiance" me paraît en tout cas approprié.
     

    hadronic

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Bonjour, je viens de découvrir cette notion de comma splice aujourd'hui, visiblement non-permise en anglais.
    Est-ce dû à une analyse erronée et simpliste d'un grammarien du début du XXe siècle qui a "pris" et s'est fait relayer de génération en génération sans remise en cause, ou y a-t-il là un mécanisme plus profond qui en justifie l'interdiction ?
    Il me semble que ce comma splice génère beaucoup de crispations, un peu comme les majuscules accentuées en français, pour finalement pas grand chose.

    Elle ne se contente plus d'orner les murs, elle fait aussi des incursions dans la conception graphique

    Cette phrase est selon moi tout-à-fait correcte. L'anglais ne peut-il pas dire : she doesn't only ornate the walls, she also makes incursions into... ?
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    The reason why comma-splicing is not used in English is probably that we often construct long sentences containing commas, and the possibility that one of these is acting as a conjunction rather than a simple pause for breath is potentially confusing. The use of standardised punctuation primarily dates from the beginning of mass printing in the Middle Ages, and the conventions used today can be traced back to the printers/publishers, rather than to academics.

    With respect to your example, it would be perfectly acceptable in English.
     

    Notafrog

    Senior Member
    English UK
    L'anglais ne peut-il pas dire : she doesn't only ornate the walls, she also makes incursions into... ?
    It's the classic "not only but also" construction with the "but" omitted. The comma is therefore an ellipsis comma, as in "Italians drink coffee; the British, tea" (where the second "drink" has been omitted).

    Sticking to your translation (as far as I am aware, "ornate" isn't ordinarily used as a verb and you've lost the notion of "ne...plus" or "no longer"), and avoiding the ellipsis, you would get "Not only does she ornate the walls but she also makes incursions...", without any comma.
    So the construction isn't a crude comma splice as it would be in "She ornates the walls, she also makes incursions into...".

    Est-ce dû à une analyse erronée et simpliste d'un grammarien du début du XXe siècle qui a "pris" et s'est fait relayer de génération en génération sans remise en cause, ou y a-t-il là un mécanisme plus profond qui en justifie l'interdiction?
    No, there's nothing wrong with the analysis. The comma serves a well-defined set of syntactic purposes and we're already stretching its versatility to the limit.
    Joining autonomous clauses has never been one of those purposes because we have colons and semicolons for that. You might as well ask whether the full stop (or period if you prefer) is the result of a wrong analysis.
     
    Last edited:
    Top