1

Do I need to put a comma between two imperative sentences ? How does the comma rules apply in the following case? Can you provide me complete detail about combining two imperative sentences?

Procrastinate now, don’t put it off.

  • It's OK to separate two independent clauses with just a semicolon. Procrastinate now; don’t put it off. – Spencer Mar 7 at 3:44
2

Comma splices are always avoided by doing one of the following:

(1) Adding a conjunction before the comma:

Procrastinate now, and don't put it off!

(2) Using two sentences (not combining them):

Procrastinate now! Don't put it off!

(3) Using a punctuation mark other than a comma:

Procrastinate now; don't put it off!
Procrastinate now—don't put it off!
Procrastinate now . . . don't put it off!
Procrastinate now (don't put it off)!

(4) Not using any punctuation, but inserting a word that joins that two pieces together anyway:

Procrastinate now without putting it off!

Which option you choose is entirely up to you and whatever style you've used in other situations.


Note that, punctuation aside, the combination of these two ideas sounds strange—although it may have been intentional.

For them to actually make sense, what you are actually intending to say is:

Procrastinate now! Don't put [your procrastination] off!

However, without some context, it might simply sound confusing, and people might complain that procrastination means putting something off—with the assumption that the pronoun it refers to something other than the procrastination.

A simpler version that would not be misunderstood (and still conveys a pun) only refers to one thing:

Don't procrastinate in your procrastination!

Or even:

Procrastinate without delay!


Also note that some comma splices are acceptable:

I came, I saw, I conquered.

Even longer ones can be used for intentional stylistic effect:

I used a comma splice, I love doing that.

It's simply that they aren't commonly left as they are, if people are editing for traditional grammar.

  • Would coordinating conjunction work for combining imperative sentences – Rajesh Poudel Mar 7 at 3:42
  • @RajeshPoudel My first example did use a coordinating conjunction. The comma is there because it is joining two independant clauses together. If you're suggesting a different conjunction, that might also work—but would likely change the meaning of the sentence. – Jason Bassford Mar 7 at 4:53
  • Nation Can you give me examples of subordinating conjunction connecting imperative sentences? – Rajesh Poudel Mar 7 at 15:19
  • @RajeshPoudel Although normally used as a preposition, I'd argue that without in (4) is used as a coordinating conjunction. But if not, you can use one of the more traditional coordinating conjunctions instead: Procrastinate now before putting it off! In any case, note how don't is dropped and put is changed into an -ing form so that the sentence becomes a dependent clause. – Jason Bassford Mar 7 at 15:42

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