We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Commas!

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 Everywhere I look, it seems like that’s what people are saying. Marquees and signs everywhere say things like WELCOME BACK STUDENTS! or NO PARKING ON SIDEWALK. CONTRACTORS THIS MEANS YOU!What’s wrong with those two instances?Well, for starters, the first one is an imperative. I picture someone yelling, Drill Sergeant-style at passers-by, “Welcome the students back, you lowly twit!” (or something along those lines).

The second is a sign where someone is building house in my neighborhood. I know what they’re saying, but there needs to be a comma since the contractors are in direct address: “Mother, I will be home late. No, sir, I did not take it.” These are the examples from the AP Stylebook, page 327.

Everybody knows that commas need to be used when giving a series: We read, colored, ate and then took a nap. Another instance most people know is when you using a conjunction with two independent clauses (i.e. two clauses that could stand alone as separate sentences). For example: “The postcards were sent, and the response was huge!”

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