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Dear teachers,

This is a passage from "Archaelogy" by John Cranna which might have been reprinted.

1) I'd like to know if there are commas that are missing in the sentence in bold.

"One afternoon Chris and I went up the valley to the gold workings to search out wood for the boat he was planning. A century before the upper valleyhad been well populated with men looking for gold and above the stream bed we came upon a collection of derelict huts and their complicated arrangement of wooden parapets and sluices. We worked on a sluice run until we could free its boards with ease, digging to loosen the framework from the earth. Then Chris stopped and stood up, he held in his hand a long tapered bone from which he shook the remaining traces of soil."

Shouldn't there be a comma after "A century before" and one after "above the stream bed" OR a comma before "and". Otherwise, where should I pause, please ?

2) In the second passage should there be an "s" to "others" or is it a mistake ?

"We scraped at the earth at the base of the frame and came upon others bones, they were laid out in a pattern that twisted in under the frame posts..."

Thank you in advance,
Hela
Comments  
I agree with you for the comma after "a century before", and after "for gold".
"others" shouldn't have an -s.
Another remark, please.

Why is there a comma and not a semi-colon before "he was frowning heavily" in the following passage?

"Then Chris stopped and stood up, he held in his hand a long tapered bone from which he shook the remaining traces of soil. “What's this ?” Leaning forward, he pointed the bone at my chest, he was frowning heavily."

Thanks again,
Hela
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You're right, Hela, a semi-colon would be better here.
With a comma, "“What's this ?” Leaning forward, he pointed the bone at my chest, frowning heavily." would be better
Hi Hela

Punctuation in literature is an emotional as much as technical issue. I wrote that sentence like that to impart an sense of inexorable forward momentum.

Best wishes

John Cranna
HelaAnother remark, please.

Why is there a comma and not a semi-colon before "he was frowning heavily" in the following passage?

"Then Chris stopped and stood up, he held in his hand a long tapered bone from which he shook the remaining traces of soil. “What's this ?” Leaning forward, he pointed the bone at my chest, he was frowning heavily."

Thanks again,
Hela
Besides, the comma after "stood up" seems a bit odd to me. Does the following rewrite make sense?

"Then Chris stopped, stood up, and held in his hand a long tapered bone from which he shook the remaining traces of soil".
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Hi guys,

I think that in these kinds of discussions about commas, it's good to remember that punctuation reflects the way something is said out loud. Thus, a comma represents a very brief pause. So, if you are deciding whether to write a comma, think about whether you would pause very briefly in speech.

A semi-colon is trickier. It's a pause that is longer than a comma, shorter than a period. Personally, I've never mastered the art of speaking like that, so I never use a semi-colon in my writing.

Best wishes, Clive
CliveHi guys,

I think that in these kinds of discussions about commas, it's good to remember that punctuation reflects the way something is said out loud. Thus, a comma represents a very brief pause. So, if you are deciding whether to write a comma, think about whether you would pause very briefly in speech.

A semi-colon is trickier. It's a pause that is longer than a comma, shorter than a period. Personally, I've never mastered the art of speaking like that, so I never use a semi-colon in my writing.

Best wishes, Clive

A good tip, Clive. Thanks