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A pug and a poodle meet in a pen

Updated: Mar 24, 2022

I'll say more about the heading for this post, below. First, let me introduce Vancouver's Granville Island Veterinary Hospital.

The friendly and dedicated people at GIVH have looked after my canine sidekick, Freddie, for almost a decade, and I've been routinely impressed by the care he has received. Freddie, for his part, is always excited to visit the vets (and I'm sure it isn't just the treat jar that keeps his tail wagging).

GIVH deserves a website that reflects the hospital's professionalism. Overall, their online home is well-organized and inviting; however, the writing throughout the site would benefit from a thorough line edit.

Consider this sentence, which appears on the home page (March '22):

"Curbside appointments are still available as needed, please advise the hospital when scheduling the appointment if you require this service."

The sentence is actually two sentences (aka "independent clauses") joined, or spliced together, by a comma. In this example, the comma splice doesn't seriously muddle the meaning, but it is, technically, an error. To use a veterinary analogy, it's a little like accidentally putting Client A's pug in the same recovery pen as Client B's poodle. Although the two clauses/pets aren't necessarily incompatible, the circumstances demand that there be a sturdier divider between them.

In this particular comma splice, a couple of different dividers would do the trick:

1) A period instead of the comma

2) A semicolon instead of the comma You can also fix a comma splice by inserting a conjunction (and, but, so, or) after the comma; however, in this case, doing so would create a very awkward sentence. The following revision corrects the comma splice and makes a few stylistic edits as well.

Curbside appointments are still available as needed. If you require this service, please advise us when scheduling your pet's visit.

Better? More polished and professional? I think so. Freddie might not give a toss what his vets say on their website (nor should he!), but a bit of prose grooming would certainly make the site more appealing to human readers.

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