I Think I Lived Another Life as a 6th Century Scribe

| | Comments (2)

"Most significantly of all, however, they ignored the old marks that had aided the reader-aloud.  Books were now for reading and understanding, not intoning."

-From page 78 of  Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss


Okay, I definitely lived another life when there were tons of ways to write commas.  I constantly insert commas where they do not belong.  This is fine if someone is writing poetry or something similar, but obviously not if someone is writing an academic paper.  Just like these guys from before the 15th century, I like to insert commas where I feel there should be a pause in reading.  I could never seem to grasp all of the comma rules as I could other punctuation and grammar rules, so I was ecstatic when Truss wrote that "the great Sir Ernest Gowers" said, " ' The use of commas cannot be learned by rule' " (82).  "Yes! I can put commas wherever I want," I thought, but then I read on.  I knew the rules would come inevitably.  Oh well, at least I have these helpful rules to follow now. 


Check out other comments on Eats, Shoots & Leaves


Kaitlin Monier said:

I agree with you, I used to use a lot of commas too, even if they were unnecessary. I like to put commas in places where it sounds right, but there are a lot of rules to follow.

I looove commas. They often times get me in trouble with my formal essays, though. I left a similar comment about this on Angelica's blog, but my defense (and I'm sticking to it) is that my natural pauses in a sentence are different from someone else's natural pauses in a sentence so who are they to tell me where to put my commas?
I believe that the use of the comma should be left up to the writer, since she is the one who decides what meaning she wants the reader to interpret.

Leave a comment

Type the characters you see in the picture above.