When(in english) and the comma

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RE: When(in english) and the comma

Post by Daioni » Tue 12.05.2006 11:01 am

datdo wrote:
since nobody is up for making a topic...I, a native speaker, will.

When is there a comma before "when"? Is "I was waiting for the train, when I saw my friend." correct written english? How about "My favorite part of the book was when Maria died." I was just wondering this...
I think the problem is because it's a slangy, modern sentence. For example, "While I was waiting for the train, I saw my friend" would flow easily, grammar-wise

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RE: When(in english) and the comma

Post by kaze89 » Tue 12.05.2006 11:58 am

I've been learning English for a few years. I think i've learned about two comma rules. In German, we've got tons of rules for the usage of commas so we found it pretty strange when our last English teacher told us not to worry about commas too much in English, because we'd get crazy over it. She said most people just put commas where they feel it's appropiate.
I've had a hard time believing it until now.
kill cats, which the people do not like.
A tackle, which endangers the safety of an opponent, must be sanctioned as serious foul play.
That's one of those few thinks I learned about English commas ^^
晋三, who won the lottery, is my uncle.
My English teacher would definitely have us put that in commas, because the sentence remains a sentence even if you scratch the "who won the lottery" part

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RE: When(in english) and the comma

Post by Zounoko » Tue 12.05.2006 4:23 pm


I think you have nailed it (= understood perfectly). :) It's interesting that you used two sentences in the Japanese translation. If you wanted to combine them, I think you could write:

対戦相手の安全を脅かすから, タックルは深刻な反則と認められるに違いない。

...but is there any way to get the the first part (of my sentence above) inside the second part? (I am trying to get a better handle on Japanese complex sentences.)

Incidentally, I think you're right about the relationship between restrictive and non-restrictive clauses and the definite / indefinite article. In archaic English, the word "which" could be preceded by "the". The best example I could pull up quickly was this:
"Invoking then the Most Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and of His most glorious Mother Mary, ever Virgin, for this Our definite sentence, the which ... we present in these writings, ..."
More information than you probably want to know about the word "which" can be found here:

http://machaut.uchicago.edu/?action=sea ... ksearch=on

晋三さん, who won the lottery, is my uncle.
The 晋三さん who won the lottery is my uncle.
If you re-read above, you will find that these sentences mean slightly different things. It matters whether you put the commas in or not. It changes the meaning of the sentence.

If you are still confused after re-reading, let me know where you get lost and I'll try to explain more clearly.

The Elephant's Child

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