Commas, and when to use them, or when not to.

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Writing sentences that are too long has been a problem of mine for over a decade.  In elementary school, I can remember that I was obsessed with commas, often writing whole paragraphs as one sentence.  As I later learned the fundamentals of when to use commas, I would often write sentences that were (technically) grammatically correct, but would have upwards of 7 to 8 commas.  While today I still write sentences with many commas, I generally try to limit the commas I use for the news articles I write.

While Chapter 4 was insightful as far as in how to effectively use commas in news writing, I felt that the author should have focused a more of the chapter on why not to use too many commas.  Cappon mentioned that shorter sentences can be more effective, but didn't elaborate much.  Most newspapers have a goal of writing articles in an 8th grade reading level, and excessive use of commas often defeats that purpose.  It is also important that the writer of the news article make sure that what they are writing is completely factual.  Writing sentences that are too long often increases the chances that something you write will be misconstrued, as well as put the reader to sleep.

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