GRAMMAR: "Then or And Then?"

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    Jun 12, 2013 9:53 PM GMT
    EDIT: This thread is now CLOSED. Solution found.



    NOTE: This for the NARRATIVE part of a novel, not dialogue.


    I keep finding differing opinions on this in both manuals and grammar websites. Which do you think is correct?

    A: The two made room in the trunk for the flat tire, then put the spare in place.

    B: The two made room in the trunk for the flat tire, and then put the spare in place.

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    Jun 12, 2013 10:12 PM GMT
    B works better for me without the comma. A works for me just as well as B.
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    Jun 12, 2013 10:51 PM GMT
    I do a lot of writing and grammar is a bitch.
    Either sentence is OK, I prefer the second but the second doesn't need a comma.

    {edit}

    Oh - Lumpy just said that!
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:11 PM GMT
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elements_of_Style
    Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

    —Elementary Principles of Composition, The Elements of Style
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:13 PM GMT
    According to some grammar-specific sites, A is incorrect. They say you can't use then as a conjunction. Meaning, you must put the "and" in there, regardless of whether you use the comma.

    Can anyone verify that A is completely wrong?
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:19 PM GMT
    Aristoshark saidNo, it's not as formal but certainly correct enough.



    Correct enough for published novels?
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:21 PM GMT
    Some of English depends on the setting. How well does ivory tower speak on a gay forum or reverse that.

    Sometimes English is correct by how it sounds and sometimes words can be left out because the word "is understood" or implied even when not explicitly expressed.
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:22 PM GMT
    theantijock saidSome of English depends on the setting. How well does ivory tower speak on a gay forum or reverse that.

    Sometimes English is correct by how it sounds and sometimes words can be left out because the word "is understood" or implied even when not explicitly expressed.


    Again, but for published work?
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:23 PM GMT
    wrestlervic said
    Aristoshark saidNo, it's not as formal but certainly correct enough.



    Correct enough for published novels?


    That could depend upon the nature of the novel, the character utilizing the language, the consistency of the narration, etc.
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:25 PM GMT
    B. Without the comma.
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:26 PM GMT
    I'd add that you need to be comfortable with it. Otherwise your writing will not come off as authentic.
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:26 PM GMT
    It would depend on if this was part of an instruction manual or a piece of creative writing.
    The number one rule in writing (not grammar) is to be understandable.
    You wouldn't say "This is something with which up I cannot put!"
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:27 PM GMT
    Here's a good article on this. What do you think?


    http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2010/04/ask-editor-and-then.html
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:30 PM GMT
    I went through my whole book and either made it "and then" if it sounded OK (with or without comma) or rewrote the sentence to avoid the conflict. Some sentences don't need it if it's apparent that one action was following another.
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:33 PM GMT
    TheGuyNextDoor saidWhat's wrong with me.... for some reason, A sounds better than B.
    I guess, less is more to TheGuyNextDoor.


    I know, right? But all of these sites are saying it is completely wrong. Unless it is part of dialogue, of course, where you type like you speak.
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:33 PM GMT
    TheGuyNextDoor saidWhat's wrong with me.... for some reason, A sounds better than B.
    I guess, less is more to TheGuyNextDoor.



    How ironic......icon_wink.gif
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:37 PM GMT
    Your referenced article says: "I say using ‘then’ as a conjunctive by itself is acceptable today."

    But as I said, do what makes you most comfortable with your own writing. Because without that, even if you wind up being correct, you'll sound wrong.
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:38 PM GMT
    Isn't it funny? I constantly write in the A format because it sounds OK. I hate the extra word. It would also seem odd to replace the comma with a semicolon to make it right. Apparently, if you leave out and, it should be written:

    The two made room in the trunk for the flat tire; then put the spare in place.

    But I don't like that either.

    EDIT: I'm gonna search some NYT Best Sellers to see how they handle it.
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:41 PM GMT
    absolutely it would not have a semi
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:41 PM GMT
    theantijock saidYour referenced article says: "I say using ‘then’ as a conjunctive by itself is acceptable today."

    But as I said, do what makes you most comfortable with your own writing. Because without that, even if you wind up being correct, you'll sound wrong.


    But she was referring to dialogue, not narrative. In the next paragraph she writes:

    "For now, though, if you’re writing for publication, you might want to stick to the rule in the narrative portion of your manuscript."
  • Christoforos

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    Jun 12, 2013 11:41 PM GMT
    "B" is okay in conversation, but always write "A"!

    grammatik.jpg
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:42 PM GMT
    The two made room in the trunk for the flat tire to fit with the spare in place.
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:42 PM GMT
    TheGuyNextDoor said
    turbobilly said
    TheGuyNextDoor saidWhat's wrong with me.... for some reason, A sounds better than B.
    I guess, less is more to TheGuyNextDoor.



    How ironic......icon_wink.gif

    Howie! I see what you did there...


    Lol...chill with the "Howie" bit......icon_razz.gif
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:46 PM GMT
    wrestlervic said
    theantijock saidYour referenced article says: "I say using ‘then’ as a conjunctive by itself is acceptable today."

    But as I said, do what makes you most comfortable with your own writing. Because without that, even if you wind up being correct, you'll sound wrong.


    But she was referring to dialogue, not narrative. In the next paragraph she writes:

    "For now, though, if you’re writing for publication, you might want to stick to the rule in the narrative portion of your manuscript."


    I think the most important rule is that your reader understands what you're saying in the same way that you're comfortable saying. In any case, you could argue the "and" as being understood even if left out.
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    Jun 12, 2013 11:48 PM GMT
    If I can find it in a few NYT Best Sellers without the and, I'm going for it. Tell me if you find it like A in any books you have.


    I also just found this on another site:

    "Caesar invaded Gaul, then he turned his attention to England" — is a comma splice, a faulty sentence construction in which a comma tries to hold together two independent clauses all by itself: the comma needs a coordinating conjunction to help out, and the word then simply doesn't work that way.