Life, with all its minor inconveniences, goes on.
Life with all its minor inconveniences goes on.
One of my problems is that I often fail to place the first comma. I have a lot of problems with punctuation, not being regularly instructed or something. I need logical explanations, not arbitrary rules, and logical explanations are not always what is provided. But sometimes a logical explanation doesn’t go far enough.
You can see the difference above. Can you explain it?
The first one is about life continuing the inconveniences notwithstanding, the second one is about what life keeps doing, as if it were personified. There is a clearer way to write it, but there’s nothing incorrect with that second sentence.
That’s what’s good about my present job; I have to explain it. Now my mind is able better to grasp not only the conceptual difference between a defining (restrictive) clause and a non-defining clause but also to adjudge it–as it were–in practice. Here the commas are subordinating the clause by a shade: that’s all. It is, one might say, cosmetic: the translation of written from spoken speech.
Which is what seems sometimes lost to view. (I teach with teachers who believe that reading is almost exclusively a silent activity and to suggest otherwise is absurd. But if you’re not listening or not imagining the sound you’re missing something.) Think of it this way–for the television crowd: if you’re writing a dialogue you’re putting in the commas to indicate a change of tone. There is a heaviness in the first that the second breezes on without; color in the first the second lacks. The second is all in anastrophically muted shades of irony. And the determination isn’t primarily of logic; it is a matter of intention that logic then adjudicates. You can have it both ways, it seems to me, providing you’re no pedant.
Have notions of language lost the sense of an aural primacy? I sometimes wonder. Still, life goes on, with all its minor inconveniences . . . no: life goes on with all its minor inconveniences.