Commas


“Hi, my name is Cliff, and I have a problem with commas.” /react-text

react-text: 15686 I’m going to start a support group for writers, and that’s how everyone will start the meeting. It’s sort of like AA, but it’s for struggling writers who try to get by without an editor. I’m lucky. I have an editor who fixes my silliness without changing what I’m trying say, even when I don’t actually know what I’m trying to say. If you enjoy my writing at all you should know that its really because Bryan keeps a close eye on me. /react-text react-text: 15689 When I first started writing, I would put commas everywhere. I wasn’t sure why, but it looked right to me, and since I was the writer, that’s just the way it was. It wasn’t long before I started checking my work after it came back from my editor, and I noticed the missing commas. Determined to be a better writer, I became comma shy and stopped using them unless I knew for sure they belonged. /react-text react-text: 15692 Recently, I noticed that my work coming back from Bryan had more commas than the draft I had sent him. I knew I had to figure out this comma thing, because I’m not stupid, and I did pretty well in high-school English. I began looking at the rules for the use of commas, and here’s what I’ve learned about when you should use a comma: /react-text react-text: 15695 Before coordinating conjunctions that link two independent clauses. /react-text I don't even know what that means. react-text: 15699 After a dependent clause that starts a sentence. /react-text Does it matter what drugs the clause is dependent on? react-text: 15703 To offset appositives from the rest of the sentence. /react-text Don't two appositives equal a negative? react-text: 15707 After introductory adverbs. /react-text But only if it's a black tie event, or you’re introducing a VIP. react-text: 15711 When attributing quotes. /react-text Sounds easy, but where to place the comma (inside or outside the quotation marks) takes more brain power. react-text: 15715 Between two adjectives that modify the same noun. /react-text I've always wanted two adjectives to modify my noun, but Louise won't allow it. (Notice how I placed a comma before the coordinating conjunction?) react-text: 15719 To offset negation in a sentence. /react-text You should never negate a sentence. react-text: 15723 After reading all these rules about when to use a comma, I was more confused than ever. I continued my investigation of the comma: /react-text react-text: 15726 Don’t put a comma after “but,” “or,” or “and.” /react-text Doesn’t that look silly with two “or”s in a row? react-text: 15730 Don’t join two complete sentences with a comma. /react-text Well, actually you can, but you have to put a dot over the comma and call it a semicolon. react-text: 15734 Don't put commas with words like "and" or "but" if the second clause lacks a subject. /react-text This is why the queen can do it: because she has millions of subjects. react-text: 15738 When the second part of the sentence pairs with the information in the first part through correlation, a comma is not used /react-text Huh? react-text: 15742 Do not use a comma to separate verbs in multiple locations in the same sentence. /react-text Does this mean I should try to keep all my verbs in one place, sort of like keeping all of your eggs in one basket? react-text: 15746 Okay, I can’t write any more about commas without a pause (which is when you should use a comma) for a few sips of an adult beverage. So now the job of being my editor is up to you. There are places in this blog where I’ve used a comma and shouldn’t have and places where I needed a comma and didn’t put one. Can you tell which is which? /react-text react-text: 15749 Leave me a comment and tell me where you think I screwed up. The winner gets to read one more blog. The losers have to read two more blogs.


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