Oh, Comma, Where, Oh Where, Should I Put Thee?

comma.jpg

Many well-educated people in today’s society have problems with commas. Not so much if they should use them, but rather where they should place those funny little punctuation marks.

Most grammar experts, either self-proclaimed or otherwise, have differing opinions as to where commas should go. Many successful, prolific authors write, in many cases, as though the comma should be used as often as, “rabbits hoppin’ around at a family reunion.”

However, there are some who only reserve the comma for distinct occasions and treat them as diamonds in the rough!

Commas should be used before the conjunction which joins two independent (or restrictive) clauses, and they must be placed here. Other times comma use is appropriate include when addressing a person, or when the second clause of a sentence is non-restrictive, which is something like this.

Wikipedia says this: “According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word comma comes directly from the Greek komma (κόμμα), which means something cut off or a short clause.”

Originally, the comma was placed to allow for a breath to be taken when reading a text aloud. It was not a grammatical mark until the 13th century and was widely propagated in the 16th Century by  Aldus Manutius.

Here are some rules I follow:

  1. With introductory words or phrases, a comma should be used.
  2. When using commas to add information, which the reader might enjoy, commas should be used. However, this is considered to be a non-restrictive clause and does not change the sentence’s meaning.

To sum up, the comma is a mark of punctuation which can change the meaning of a sentence and should be used with care. In future posts, I’ll include other, if not more fascinating, ways to use the comma and common ways it’s abused.

How ’bout it?

About these ads
Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

6 Comments on “Oh, Comma, Where, Oh Where, Should I Put Thee?”

  1. dschinker Says:

    I think the most controversial use of commas is whether or not to use them before the third item in a list of items, known as the “serial comma” or the “Oxford Comma” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_comma). Take the example sentence, “I went to the store, the beach, and the gas station.” Some would say that the comma after the word beach is unnecessary, but I think it add clarity. Grammar Girl has an informative podcast on this topic here: http://grammar.qdnow.com/2007/03/15/comma-splice.aspx

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I was taught in school not to put a comma after the last serial item. My daughter has been taught differently. However, I am writing an autobiography/history book and I using commas the way I was taught!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I was taught in school not to put a comma after the last serial item. My daughter has been taught differently. However, I am writing an autobiography/history book and I’m using commas the way I was taught!


    • The way I understand it is that either is technically correct. The thing is that the journalism crowd (writers) tend to cut corners wherever it’s possible. The AP style guide is pretty clear about it being appropriate to replace the final comma with the coordinating conjunction.

      Either way is acceptable, just make a good case for it.


  4. When some one searches for his vital thing, therefore he/she desires
    to be available that in detail, so that thing is
    maintained over here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: