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Can we join two sentences with a comma if written in a conservational tone? Is this sentence grammatically correct?

We also need to remember that donations need not be strictly only in cash, they can also be in kind such as making aircraft or helicopters booked in the name of some company or individual, being provided to a political party for its use.

Source: Is There Life After Electoral Bonds?

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  • Presumably a typo for 'conversational'? Nov 20, 2023 at 8:59
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    @Kate Bunting. Yes, and neither the quoted sentence nor the source article are written in a conversational tone.
    – Shoe
    Nov 20, 2023 at 9:03
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    I'm surprised nobody has been along yet to comment that punctuation has nothing to do with grammar, and is just a convention for representing spoken language with its pauses and tone gradients. Nonetheless, this does seem a duplicate of one of several questions about comma splices.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 20, 2023 at 12:37

1 Answer 1

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Joining the two finite clauses ("We also need to remember that donations need not be strictly only in cash" and "they can also be in kind...") results in a run-on sentence (also called a comma splice). School students are generally taught that such sentences are "errors*", but they may in some contexts be acceptable.

Some readers of the quoted sentence will not notice the comma splice, others will notice it but not think it's a problem, and still others will react negatively. But this is not a matter of grammaticality. (The comma splice in the first sentence of this paragraph seems acceptable to me.)

That said, the second comma in your quoted text is problematic and its following non-finite clause being provided to a political party for its use) is poorly expressed. An improvement would be to remove that second comma and rewrite with an object complement as:

They can also be in kind such as making aircraft or helicopters booked in the name of some company or individual available to a political party for its use.

* "Avoid using run-on sentences." (Warriner's Middle School Handbook, p220)

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  • This is interesting, because here (English is not my native language) it is hammered into pupils that a sentence has to be as long as it takes to contain a "thought". In my native language the sentence should not have been broken up to preserve the dichotomy "donations are this - and that too". English style is - obviously - very different from ours.
    – bakunin
    Nov 20, 2023 at 10:53
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    @bakunin. If your native language is German you may be interested in a question I asked on the German site about the differing acceptability of comma splices in English and German: german.stackexchange.com/questions/43635/…
    – Shoe
    Nov 20, 2023 at 12:26
  • Yes, this is about the difference I meant: in your example the "thought" was "new charirman - and it is ..." (imagine the "ta-dah!" fanfare). It would have been possible to avoid the "comma slice" by employing a relative clause: "DIe SPD wählt eine Vorsitzende, als welche Andrea Nahles als gesetzt gilt." but that would be really bad style.
    – bakunin
    Nov 20, 2023 at 12:50

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