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I am looking at a computerized sample question and solution from a university writing improvement center.

True or false. The following sentence is punctuated correctly.

Carl Jung was born in Switzerland in 1875 and died in 1961, at first, he was a disciple of Freud.

I marked false: this really looks like a comma splice to me.

However the computer said "true", explaining: "A comma is required before the faux conjunction at first since it connects two independent clauses."

Two questions:

  1. This sentence could not possibly be correctly punctuated, right?!

  2. "Faux conjunction(s)" registers less than 10 google hits, all of which were useless. If this is in fact a real concept, can someone give an explanation about the meaning the question's author intended?

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closed as too localized by MετάEd, JSBձոգչ, FumbleFingers, Barrie England, Andrew Leach Aug 28 '12 at 15:06

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The sentence is indeed a comma splice. Who knows what the software was thinking? "To err is human, but if you really want to screw things up, use a computer." –  Robusto Aug 28 '12 at 14:01
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A 'faux conjunction' is presumably somebody's notion of an adverb or adverb phrase masquerading as a conjunction. That's certainly not the case here. And anybody who would use 'faux' in a context when plain English 'false' is in order is clearly not be trusted. –  StoneyB Aug 28 '12 at 14:04
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+1 Question shows research. Voting to close "too localized". This question is about a term that doesn't exist for a construction that isn't used. –  MετάEd Aug 28 '12 at 14:05
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Yeah, I agree with MetaEd, here. You are right, and your computer program is on drugs. –  JSBձոգչ Aug 28 '12 at 14:14
    
FYI: I googled "false conjunction" and found nothing pertaining to grammar and usage. There were some math and logic links. –  Chris Cudmore Aug 28 '12 at 14:16

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