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March 17, 2007

Read This Intelligent and Informative and Interesting Blog Entry (especially if you want a good hint about when NOT to use commas)

Truss, Eats, Shoots and Leaves -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

"You use a comma where an and would be appropriate - where the modifying words are all modifying the same thing to the same degree:

It was a dark, stormy night.
(The night was dark and stormy)

Bur you do NOT use a comma for:

It was an endangered white rhino.
The grand old Duke of York had ten thousand men.

This is because in each of these cases, the adjectives do their jobs in joyful combination; they are not intended as a list...The wedding wasn't big fat and Greek" (86-87).

I never really thought about this before. I knew not to put commas in those places but at the same time I didn't think of that as an exception to the rule about modifiers. I also think Tuss explains it brilliantly with the last example. If you didn't get it prior to that example you really get it once you hear it. So I guess the people that market movies and such at least sometimes know what they are doing. Imagine how much less effective the title would have been if they called it My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding. (And I have complete confidence that the movie would have been a total flop, despite all cleverness, if it some idiot had decided to call it My Big and Fat and Greek Wedding).

Posted by LorinSchumacher at March 17, 2007 11:14 PM


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