the comma

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“More than any mark, the comma draws our attention to the mixed origins of modern punctuation.” (Truss, Eats, Shoots, & Leaves p70)

Commas are used in lists. The rule is use a comma if it can replace the words and or or. I’m good at using a comma in this situation. One thing I was confused about was when Truss says, “Done knowingly by an established writer, the comma splice is effective, poetic, and dashing. Done equally knowingly by people who are not published writers, it can look weak or presumptuous (88).” I thought a comma splice was incorrect grammar regardless of who uses them.

I was glad to read that two words that must not be used to join two sentences together with a comma are however and nevertheless. I always want to use a comma before and after however in a sentence. I think I have struggled with using commas because it takes a lot of thought.  I overanalyze if a comma belongs or if it doesn’t. It’s important to not use them “like a stupid person” (96)

What I liked best in this chapter on the comma is when Truss says, “I allude to punctuation marks as traffic signals of language: “they tell us to slow down, notice this, take a detour, and stop” (85).

3 Comments

Stephanie Wytovich said:

I'll admit... I'm a tad comma happy and can relate to your entry oh to well.

Erica Gearhart said:

Great points Angelica! I have trouble with commas to, but I do know the rules for "however." If you have two independent clauses joined by "however," you should use a semi-colon:
"I went to bed early; however I could not fall asleep."
But if you use it as more of a transition word or as a connecter between the subject and the predicate, you can use commas:
"The book, however, was not very good."
I'm pretty sure these examples are correct. These are the rules I follow when I write, and no one has ever corrected me.
I love how you mentioned that you "overanalyze" when placing commas into your papers. I do too, even when I am doing informal writing because you never know who will see it.

I love the comma and I probably use it more often than I should in my formal essays. But the thing is, my natural pauses may not be someone else's natural pauses so who are they to tell me that my comma is in the wrong place? I have gotten a few papers back saying that there are too many comma splices (I didn't even really figure out what a comma splice was until I came to college). I can't help it; I love commas.

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Lauren Miller on the comma: I love the comma and I probabl
Erica Gearhart on the comma: Great points Angelica! I have
Stephanie Wytovich on the comma: I'll admit... I'm a tad comma