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source A Game of Thrones

In the end, she wrote four letters. To her mother, the Lady Catelyn Stark, and to her brothers at Winterfell, and to her aunt and her grandfather as well, Lady Lysa Arryn of the Eyrie, and Lord Hoster Tully of Riverrun.

How the writer made the sentence "To her mother...." without clause. Because I was taught that a sentence should have a complete idea, and one clause at least. And as you can notice the writer ended the first sentence with a period so there is no connection between the first sentence and the second one? How could you explain that?

  • The author takes a small liberty with the typographic representation of the utterance. But why should he be encumbered with dashes, colons and semicolons? It is a grammatical utterance, and simple enough that we don't need the conventional signposts to tell us how to parse it. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 29 '17 at 13:32
  • Do you mean that an utterance has specific grammar to be written differs from nature English grammar? @Tᴚoɯɐuo what should I read to learn more about these aspects and patterns? I mean references. – Bavyan Yaldo Jul 29 '17 at 18:43
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    Writing and typography attempt to represent language on the page. Over the centuries, various conventions have arisen about what these dots and squiggles mean. But these orthographic and typographic features are only conventions, not part of the grammar of the language per se. Writers of fiction who seek to present a language-experience unmediated by typographic convention, will often ignore what they consider to be irrelevant strictures on their prose, such as using semi-colons to delimit a list. Instead, they will use only the most basic punctuation, and allow the syntax of... – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 29 '17 at 18:47
  • ... the sentence to guide the reader. The reader must simply say the words in his head to understand them. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 29 '17 at 18:47
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Creative writing can take liberties with grammar. You are correct that the first sentence should end in something like a colon, but Martin writes how he wants to write.

I'm sure something similar exists in your native language -- when you see someone write using an unusual grammar, how does that change the way the sentence feels to you? It's the same in English.

If it was a different writer, I would probably go into more depth about how the first sentence changes the character of the paragraph ... but the truth is Martin isn't that poetic of a writer. He writes good plots, people, and dialogue, but the individual sentences are nothing special.

For example, look up Cormac McCarthy, particularly "The Road". He has an unusual style, but there at least the deliberate lack of punctuation has an actual purpose.

The only way to learn about all the different ways English grammar can be stretched for poetic/prosaic effect, you really just have to read a lot of English literature. Keep in mind writing styles have changed considerably over the centuries, and so a novel written in the early 1800s like Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" is going to have a very different style from something written in the 1950s like John Steinbeck's "East of Eden", and both are going to be different from more contemporary novels.

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