I have a sentence that says this, "'They probably want us, let’s get out of here,' Jake said to Adam."

In a situation like this, is using correct grammar necessary? Do I have to say, "'They probably want us; let's get out of here,' Jake said to Adam.", or can I leave it as it was stated above?

  • I'm confused. What do you perceive as the significant difference between the two, and why would you not prefer "correct grammar"?
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 15, 2015 at 20:35
  • The significant difference is that the first sentence is a run-on because it has a comma splice, while the second sentence is complete because it uses a semicolon. I 'would not prefer' correct grammar in this situation because I already turned the assignment in and was docked points for this. I was wondering if I really should have been, and if usage was at least acceptable in this situation. Dec 15, 2015 at 20:44
  • Claiming a "comma splice" makes the sentence "run-on" when the semicolon does not is a bit P-ist, but it's the sort of pedanticism which is to be expected from some educators. It's a silly technicality, but not worth arguing about (unless it makes the difference between passing and failing).
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 15, 2015 at 20:51
  • And if it does make a difference between a letter grade, then what would you say, because the semester is ending soon. Dec 15, 2015 at 20:58
  • 3
    (If the text you were quoting was from another printed text, then one might argue that it's more important to quote precisely than to correct any punctuation "errors" in the original author's work. But when you're quoting, in essence, spoken language then there is no punctuation present in the original other than the pauses that one might hear, and one should generally strive to adhere to some "standard" of punctuation. What "standard" is up to you ... and your instructor.)
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 15, 2015 at 21:05

1 Answer 1


Yes. You have two main clauses separated by a comma. Pop in a the word "so" and all is fine:

"They probably want us, so let’s get out of here," Jake said to Adam.

  • 1
    I think the issue here is that the first part of the sentence is a quotation. Thus, we can't "pop in a word" to make everything fine. (If Jake didn't say "so," then it shouldn't be added to the quote, hence the O.P.'s dilemma.)
    – J.R.
    Dec 16, 2015 at 1:42

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