I’m sure you’ve been there too: you’ve had a hard day at work followed by a strenuous workout at the gym and all you want is a nice, relaxing bath. You get in and start enjoying a bit of peace and quiet when the phone rings. You ignore it. It rings again, so you decide to get out and pick it up. This happens not twice, but three times, which leads to the following text conversation:
Me: CAN I ENJOY MY BATH WITHOUT HAVING TO GET OUT EVERY TWO MINUTES???
Bath-ruiner: You’re in the bath??!!
Me: Well I was, I got out as people are clearly intent on ruining it.
Bath-ruiner: Tee hee. (Awful comma splice in your last text, btw).
Follows a lengthy text argument on the finer points of English punctuation. Unfortunately, my “friend” was right, as was confirmed by wikipedia:
Comma splicing is the use of a comma to join two independent clauses, instead of a conjunction, semi-colon, or period. For example:
It is nearly half past five, we cannot reach town before dark.
Comma splices are generally considered errors in English, although they are acceptable in some languages, including French and German, and compulsory in others, including Russian and Ukrainian.
So, my sentence should have said Well I was, but I got out as people were clearly intent on ruining it (or rather Well I was, but I got out, as people were clearly intent on ruining it). See the wikipedia article for a handy summary of acceptable uses and corrections and the Purdue Online Writing Lab for a more complete set of guidelines for the use of the comma in English. I think French people should definitely be exempted from following this particular rule, especially in a text conversation.
Shower curtain photo by Darwin Bell.