I Came, I Saw, I Corrected

Montreal Syllabus TranslationAfter weeks of pointing out what makes us frown, we’ve decided to point out something that makes us smile. One of my favourite grammatical gems involves a series of clauses.

Start with a series of relatively short, parallel independent clauses strung together in a single sentence. Then add commas. Last, but certainly not least, do not add the word “and.”

Take, for instance, Julius Caesar’s famous speech as proof that it can, in fact, be done.

I came, I saw, I conquered.

Other examples work just as nicely, if a tad mundane.

I overslept, I missed my bus, I lost my wallet. What a day!

By inserting a final “and” or, worse, adding a heavy set of semi-colons, you would kill the cadence and destroy the impact and poetry of the sentence.

Purists might fret over the comma splice, but those at peace with the subtle quirks of the English language would simply smile, delighting in what appears to be the breaking of a hard and fast rule—but which actually is not.

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