Often in written Japanese, particularly in essays, I frequently find liberal use of what we would call "run-on sentences" in English--many clauses simply joined together with just a 読点. In particular in English, a "comma-splice" is when two independent clauses are incorrectly joined together with just a comma, without a necessary conjunction.

Here is a passage excerpt from a beginner Japanese textbook:


Particularly in the last sentence, I want to understand why したい is okay here instead the 連用形(したく・したくて). Are such comma-splices actually grammatically acceptable in Japanese? Or is it a case of it's "technically" incorrect, but acceptable in practice?

If there is a Japanese term for this kind of sentence or 読点 use, I would also love to know. I can't seem to find more information about this specific topic.

1 Answer 1



This sentence is perfectly fine, and there's nothing wrong with this use of a comma. In your sentence, 結婚するより~しよう is a quote marked with と(考える), so it's one level "deeper". In such contexts, it's common to delimit sentences using commas to avoid misunderstanding while not needing to use explicit brackets:

  • ママはあれもダメ、これもダメと言ってくる。
    Mama says "Don't do this, don't do that" to me.
  • 楽しかった、またやりたいなどのコメント
    comments such as It was fun and I want to do it again

So I think your example has little to do with how you can use commas at the "top level".

At the "top level" and in formal writing, you should not use a comma to merely connect two long independent sentences. Obvious exceptions include short clauses such as わかりました and そうですね, which don't have to be extracted to separate sentences. Also, in novels and similar works, commas can be used quite freely and creatively, for example to simulate disjointed thoughts.

Besides, note that you cannot use したく(て) in this sentence in the first place! Doing so would introduce a reason-conclusion relationship, but you cannot use a te-form when the conclusion part involves volition or desire. Read the section that explains why "危なくて機械に触らないでください" is incorrect in this page. If you said something like "就職して好きなことをしたいので結婚したくなったらしよう" instead, this part would make sense, but the original sentence has no "because" relationship between the two items.

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