Posted: March 3, 2010 in Uncategorized, Wednesday's Writing Tip
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I admit I don’t know how when or where to use the comma and I’m sick of it.

Since freshman year at Notre Dame longhaired intellectuals have been making those indecipherable cryptic notes on my writing and sending me to tutorials.

Screw ’em.

I’m done.

Don’t tell me about independent conjuntivitis phrases natural pauses and that crap. It’s unneneccesary and pretentious.

And to the smug comma Nazis who are always so pleased with themselves to site some archaic rule insisting subtly that they are better than you because they know the special club rules on where the curly cue thing goes–stick the comma up your colon.

Most of it’s bullshit anyway. There’s the exception for this and the exception for that and you use it here but not there and you can use before and but you don’t have to.

I’m done it’s over.

Stop pretending like it’s a capital offense to miss a comma. We don’t walk around saying “Hi comma how are you?”

Stp the madness.

It ends today.

The comma is so over

  1. Tammy Lynn says:

    Great post! I’ve e-mailed a link to all of my comma-challenged friends. Also, we were sorry you couldn’t make it to Alabama a few weeks ago. Maybe next year???

  2. tjs9261 says:

    Would love to if you’ll have me after being such a wuss…

  3. Jen Forbus says:

    Oh, you’re killin’ the former English teacher! I use to have a Mother Goose and Grimm comic strip that I used in class. It had one big panel; Grimm is dragging a kid in the door by his pant leg and Mother Goose says, “No, I said fetcher the paper COMMA boy, not fetch the paper boy.”

    They can make a world of difference. I’d be careful what you throw out with those commas! ;-)When you talk you have pace, body language, facial expressions, tone…in writing, not so much.

  4. Graham says:

    Ahem – “cite”. You can thank me later.

  5. D.B. Dean says:

    I once worked as an EA to the Chief Medical Officer for a cancer research company.

    I was responsible for imputting the changes to our huge protocols that were submitted to the FDA. Half the changes made in revisions after revision where the movement of commas. They would have long long meetings about where to put a comma. I Finally bougt a greggs reference manual that has a whole section on commas in business writing.

    I do admit however, that half my changes to my “Against the Current” posted last night on my blog was adding commas after the fact. I get all the ideas out and then go…ooops… Also, I find that where I WANT to put the “…” in my writing is probably were I should put commas. I used the “…” alot in emails. Its my mental pause as I think. I then have to go and take all the “…”‘s out and replace them with commas and periods etc.

    So your advocating less commas…probably NO “…”‘s and less words with ultimately shorter and clearer sentences. CRAP….I dont think I will ever get this writing thing down.

    of course a phrase does come to mind.

    Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
    Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore–
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
    As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
    “‘Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door–
    Only this and nothing more.”

    Poe used lots of commas AND his version of the dot dot dot…the dash dash ๐Ÿ˜€ He also used lots of words and very very long sentences.

    I lost my train of thought…crud…its cause I went on to long and forgot where I was going with this.

  6. Paula Matter says:

    Did someone get an editorial letter recently…?

  7. catconnor says:

    It’s good to know I’m not alone out here! I freaking hate commas – never know when to use the little buggers, am tired of hearing how inadequate my comma usage is. I put them where I feel they should go, which of course means they always in the wrong freaking place (substitute freaking for actual expletive.)

    But I am open about my comma issues – my editor cringes and fixes them, she knows there is no point explaining it. I think she’s still hopeful that over time, with repetition, I’ll get it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I let her live the fantasy.

    It’s not all commas I know where to put them in dialog just not other places.

    Back to my morning coffee and shocking comma placement.

  8. D. B. Dean says:

    I just remembered a case my friend who doesnt use commas ever caused confusion in an IM…

    “Can you listen to me bitch” was read by me as “can you listen to me, bitch” and for a moment I didnt know what to say. I should have read it as “can you listen to me complain” but just for a moment I didnt know what to say.

  9. Oh this is great. Thank you thank you thank you. Something odd about that last sentence fragment.

    Please do one on the apostrophe.

    I also love the interviews with booksellers and critics. Came here because of your note on DorothyL about Sly Fox and have now bookmarked the page. Great site, and thanks. (Sorry about that comma.)

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