Comma Here? Or Comma There?

I sprinkle commas around like…well…sprinkles. The rainbow ones. All over my blog, you’ll find them indiscriminately scattered wherever I mentally paused in my writing because that’s where commas go, right? Somehow, I’ve blanked out on the English classes that dealt with commas. Frankly, I have no idea where to put them. Commas are more of an intuitive addition to my writing. I became more aware of my comma placements a couple years ago and took out a lot of them but I still see ones in old pieces that seem oddly placed. Who am I kidding. In new pieces, too. I’ve changed the commas in this piece about 5 times already. What I like about commas is the way they can change the whole meaning of the sentence. You would think that, feeling this way, it would behoove me to learn a little more about them. That’s a lot of power for one little punctuation mark; more powerful than a period or a quotation mark any day. I went online to find a tutorial but it was all a foreign language to me. I need to learn a lot of other words defining sentence structure before I can learn properly about commas. I may need to go back to Freshman English class. What’s your writing foible?

Chicken out


  12 comments for “Comma Here? Or Comma There?

  1. Bella Rum
    November 2, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    I think commas are responsible for more grammar mistakes than any other punctuation. I wish I’d paid more attention in school. Hyphens drive me crazy, too.


  2. November 2, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    And don’t get me started on semi-colons!


  3. November 2, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    In my freshmen English class, back in September, 1961, my grad student English teacher said “You write instinctively. Did you learn punctuation from all the books you read, like I did?” End of punctuation lesson. When I taught English, I had to teach grammar. First I had to learn it, on a crash basis. Basically, punctuation is how you talk. Inflection. Just use semi-colons instead of commas if you don’t want to start the next breath with a capital letter.


    • November 2, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      Hi Joanne-that’s the way I’ve written in the past but I must “inflect” a lot more than normal people or maybe I add commas where I would normally be talking with my hands for emphasis:-)


  4. jenny_o
    November 2, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Exclamation marks!!!! and happy faces 🙂 🙂 :D) Awhile back I went on a fast for a week; it lasted four days.

    I’m not much help because I don’t remember the rules; therefore, I can’t tell you how I figure it out. And I know that sometimes I don’t do things right, but it’s a bit like “talking like the locals” – in blogging the rules are relaxed and I want to fit in.

    Like Joanne, I seem to have absorbed it from reading. Except I NEVER read stuff with lots of exclamation marks and happy faces, I know that for sure.I think they are my equivalent of your wavy hands.


    • November 2, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      I’m so excited right now but you wouldn’t know it unless…unless…..I do this!!!!!!!!:-)


  5. Doug in Oakland
    November 2, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    Paragraphs. Usually about two-thirds of the way through a long-ish comment, I go back and break the block of text into paragraphs, so it’s not so painful to read.
    I remember Kurt Vonnegut talking about how hard what he was asking his readers to do was. And any little thing he could do to help them out was only fair.
    I do spend some time on commas. They help group the words into understandable thoughts, as well as translating pauses in speech to written words.
    And sometimes they can be hilarious in their absence, like that magazine cover that said:
    “Rachael Ray
    finds inspiration
    in cooking
    her family
    and her dog”


  6. November 2, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    When to double consonants before -ed and -ing. Not all words, but cancel and total, in particular. Just when I think I’ve figured it out (I’ve been going with canceled and totaled), I’ll see it on some official looking site with the consonants doubled. Also dialog or dialogue? Catalog or catalogue? Heads or tails?


    • November 3, 2017 at 12:44 am

      I struggle with cancelation/cancellation, too! Truly or Truely? I’ve been told that sometimes both spellings are technically acceptable but there is a preferred version. I also use the English spelling of words sometimes…grey instead of gray, realise instead of realize. Wait…is it just realize? Is there no English version?


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