Sunday, December 5, 2010


Abby informed me that Weismann's insult did not actually contain a "comma splice" since there are not two separate independent clauses in his sentence.

"Your ignorance, is exceeded only by your arrogance!"

What is the name of this comma error? I've stopped caring about Weismann. I need to know what this error is called. Anybody know? Is it possible that this could be a correct usage? I don't believe it.

I do confess my ignorance in innumerable areas. This is obviously one of them.

Arrogant? Not so much. I'm humbled all the time.


Ben said...

Abby is correct. Nevertheless, I think his sentence is still wrong because it separates the subject and the verb.

For example, "The news of Weismann's insult, is spreading." is wrong for the same reason.

I guess he might have used the comma like this in order to facilitate a pause in speech. I can picture him saying "Your ignorance (raises finger in the air for meaningful pause), is exceeded only by your arrogance."

Now might be a good time for David Foster Wallace's awesome essay Tense Present: Democracy, English and the Wars Over Usage (PDF).

If I'm wrong in my assessment of the sentence, please correct me.

abigail said...

Mister Weismann is wrong.

How lovely that we have TEN COPIES of Strunk and White in our house. Hm, Mister Owen? You buy used copies like they're candy, yet you don't consult them in, times, of, dire, grammati,cal, need,,, .

Man. What are they good for?
(For what are they good?)