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Example sentence

Take Bartlett 29 pears for instance, unless they are treated with exactly the right amount of 1-MCP at exactly the right time, they will remain hard and green until they rot, and consumers who experience this will be unlikely to purchase them again

According to a book, this sentence has a comma splice due to the phrase "for instance"

I was wondering how is this so? The sentence seems fine to me.

closed as off-topic by Edwin Ashworth, Scott, Drew, user3306356, Nigel J Mar 28 '18 at 20:21

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  • @Bread I agree that a full stop would be better than a comma there. I disagree with the OP's book that the phrase "for instance" is the reason the comma is awkward there: removing "for instance" doesn't help. – Lawrence Mar 26 '18 at 23:32
  • @Lawrence ~ I can't argue with that; but in any case, the OP doesn't give a source for the book cited. For instance modifies Take Bartlett 29 pears -- which should have been a separate sentence anyway. – Bread Mar 26 '18 at 23:39
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    @Bread alleged book, then. :) – Lawrence Mar 26 '18 at 23:41
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    A colon after for instance makes more sense to me than a period. – KarlG Mar 26 '18 at 23:49
  • A colon seems the obvious choice, since the sequence beginning "unless they are treated ..." expands the topic of "Bartlett 29 pears". – BillJ Mar 27 '18 at 7:38
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I would have written it like this: Take Bartlett 29 pears, for instance. Unless they are treated with exactly the right.... I agree that the comma is not appropriate there, because it alters the meaning of the sentence in a way that is unintended, judging from the context.

The reason is that with the comma, unless sounds more like a modifier for first main clause, rather than the beginning of a second main clause. The two main clauses need to be constructed as two separate sentences:

  • Take Bartlett 29 pears, for instance.
  • Unless they are treated with exactly the right amount of 1-MCP, at exactly the right time, they will remain hard and green until they rot, and consumers who experience this will be unlikely to purchase them again.

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