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Should two different sentences with subject and predicate be separated with a comma?

Self documenting code is not your thing I get it.

This is so obviously homework it hurts.

Is there a rule for this? Or maybe these examples are grammatically incorrect?

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No, you should not normally join two sentences with a repeated subject using only a comma. If you believe there may be confusion as to the subject of the latter, you can instead use a semicolon.

Semicolons can be used to join two related sentences, so long as both can stand on their own. If it would be improper to write two sentences separated by a period, it is improper to join them with a semicolon. But they can be very useful when you want to subtly join two related sentences.

My daughter frequently changes her favorite food; right now she likes pancakes.


Note that your sentences are improper and uncommon English grammar. You should separate the final clause of the first sentence with a common, either leaving it as-is or moving it to the first part of the sentence.

Self documenting code is not your thing, I get it.

Note that if you want to use a semicolon, you should definitely move the "I get it" to the first part of the sentence:

I get it, self documenting code is not your thing; this is so obviously homework it hurts.

But such a construct is a bit wordy, and if you really want to join the sentences you'd be better off omitting the aside altogether.

Self-documenting code is not your thing; this is so obviously homework it hurts.

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  • I don't think the asker was intending for the two example sentences to be joined as one. Feb 16, 2014 at 2:02
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No, a comma in either of the two instances you cite would generate comma splices. The sentences are grammatically incorrect as punctuated and a mere comma will not help. Each sentence contains two clauses and the best practice would be to link them with a conjunction, rewrite as two sentences or use a semicolon. Self-documenting code is not your thing; I get that. Self-documenting code is not your thing. I get it. This is so obviously homework that it hurts.

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    OP's two 'sentences' are very different. The first is clearly two independent clauses (both, particularly 'I get it/that', being in an informal register). (And 'that' does work better.) A comma would be inappropriate. However, the second, while formally looking like two independent clauses, is, as the answer points out, a reduction of an "X is so obviously Y that ..." sentence. I can see nothing wrong with adding a comma in the that-less version: He is so obviously ill,/that he should see a doctor. With a smaller Y, I wouldn't even bother with the comma: He is so ill he should see a doctor. Nov 17, 2013 at 20:52

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