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  • The decision-makers at its helm belong to one political party. Besides,[comma] there is total lack of transparency about the use of the funds.

I know that these two sentences can be separated using a semicolon, but I have seen this structure multiple times in newspaper columns. Why do people use this sentence even though it is grammatically incorrect?

Some people use commas differently from the rules mentioned to use them in grammar books. I have read multiple books to learn comma rules, but my knowledge regarding punctuation seems incomplete when I see some confusing sentences in which commas have been used differently.

Some people use comma differently from rules mentioned to use it in grammar books. I have read multiple books to learn comma rules but my knowledge regarding punctuation seems incomplete when I see some confusing sentences in which comma has been used differently.

Could you explain the reason for this comma also?

  • The only announcement to be made till date about the usage of the funds is the allocation of ₹3,100 crore for COVID-19 work,[comma] made on May 13 — ₹2,000 crore of which is mired in controversy. Source
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    From your post..."I know that these two sentences can be separated using semicolon,but I have seen this structure multiple times in newspaper *column.why do people use this *sentence student even though it is grammatically incorrect? *"You have quite a few issues with grammar and word usage. Please fix. Apart from that...who the heck said that comma usage has anything to do with grammar? May 8 at 15:47
  • Unfortunately, lots of people who didn't know any better did. There are all kinds of rules, which contradict one another, naturally. Very few books or teachers tell their students the truth about commas. May 8 at 15:51
  • In the final sentence, the comma is arguably justifiable to aid parsing (and breathing, if someone has to read the sentence out). Basically, the sentence is too long. There's also the expression 'till date' which may be standard English's 'to date'. May 8 at 16:34
  • The final sentence is confused but seems to meet the usual rules of punctuation, at least up to the dash. "The only announcement made to date about the usage of the funds is the allocation of ₹3,100 crore for COVID-19 work, made on May 13" would be unobjectionable. (I don't like "to be made" or "till date" tho.) Here the comma introduces supplementary information. After the dash, another extra bit of information is added in, and the jumble of punctuation marks is not very nice. Starting a new sentence with "₹2,000" might be better. But this has nothing to do with the main question, I think.
    – Stuart F
    May 9 at 18:34
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    Actually, this question needs clarification. In "The decision-makers at its helm belong to one political party. Besides,[comma] there is total lack of transparency about the use of the funds." there is a period after "party" used to separate two sentences. Do you think that should be replaced by a comma? Are you telling us that it shouldn't? Whether you need a comma after "besides" is an entirely different issue, about adverbials.
    – Stuart F
    May 9 at 18:38

1 Answer 1

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First, punctuation is not grammar. The spoken language knows nothing of punctuation, which is a set of conventions designed to supplement meaning in the written language in place of the supplements in the spoken language like tone of voice and body language.

Second, the “rules” of punctuation are propounded in “style guides.” There is no universally agreed-upon canon of punctuation (See for example disputes about the “Oxford comma.)

Aside from the fact that, absent additional context, the conjunction of independent clauses in your first example does not make much sense,

The decision makers … party; besides, there is ….

and

The decision makers … party. Besides, there are ….

are both acceptable forms of punctuation and capitalization.

Perhaps someone told you that when “besides” is used as a preposition, a comma should not be inserted between the preposition and its object. That sounds like quite common and eminently sensible guidance on punctuation. When, however, “besides” is used as a conjunction, most guides to punctuation would require a comma after “besides” in part to clarify that it is not being used as a preposition.

With respect to your second example, I suggest:

is the allocation for COVID-19 work made on May 13 of €3,100 crore, €2000 crore of which is mired in controversy.

Someone apparently tried to rehabilitate a badly organized sentence with punctuation that is probably not consistent with any well-regarded style guide. It is poor style and bizarre punctuation, but it is grammatical and, with some effort, comprehensible.

Punctuation is not completely standardized and is a set of conventions for professional writing. It is not grammar. If you want to be understood, worry about grammar. Punctuation is icing on the cake.

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