Still I, have to think that even though, God created, commas He intended us, to use them the way our, English teachers, tried to teach, us.
It really, does matter where, you put those, commas
(Editor’s Note: Our copy editors, threw up their, hands and gave up, trying to fix this, column.)
Commas are, important and shouldn’t just be, thrown in, anywhere. Like some, people, apparently do.
With some, writers it’s like they, have a bucket full of commas and they, feel compelled to, use them all, somewhere. So they just, take their manuscript or their, memo or letter, and their, bucket of commas and, give the bucket, a good shake and willy-nilly pour it, out and voila, they have, commas, everywhere whether they make any, sense, or, not.
I have, actually read, books where, that seems to be the, case. They have, a seemingly unlimited supply, of commas and they’re going, to find a way, to use all of, them. A good, editor, might have trimmed the number, of excess, commas but apparently a good, editor, hadn’t been, available.
Commas should, be used judiciously in, my, opinion. More, periods and less, commas I say. But not, everyone, shares this, view.
And it’s not, just books but also, letters and, memos and e-mails etc. Even, conversation. You may have heard, the example given of how a comma, can dramatically change the meaning, of a sentence: “Let’s eat grandma.” Or “Let’s eat, grandma.”
A simple rule of thumb is to put a comma where a pause is needed. No pause, no comma.
But that, rule, doesn’t seem to be applied, all that often, anymore.
There was a new bank, in town last year that promoted, itself as “Making Abilene, Happy.” After a, while, the bank dropped the, offensive comma -- which, did make some folks in town, happy.
We were praying a printed, confession in, church the other day and to, my horror, there was a comma, error right there as we were, trying to be, contrite and, confessional.
I, refuse to confess to a comma, error and I said, so, to my wife which, wasn’t probably the most, appropriate time to, get into that because, it almost made her, laugh, out, loud which, would have spoiled, the mood, of being repentant for the, whole, congregation.
Still I, have to think that even though, God created, commas He intended us, to use them the way our, English teachers, tried to teach, us. But evidently we, weren’t paying too, much attention, to what the teacher, was saying because we, were more interested, in how the football, team or the basketball, team or the band, was doing or what our friends, were wearing and didn’t really care, about the significant, but more limited role that commas, should play in our writing. All those red circles, the teacher, put around our wildly misplaced, commas were just to add some, color, to our otherwise, drab D-minus-minus, essays we figured.
So if you, have a bucket full, of commas sitting on, your desk or in, your computer my advice is to do, everyone especially your English teacher a favor, and delete, them. Most of the, commas in this column could be, deleted.
In short: Fewer commas. More periods. Shorter sentences.
And don’t; even get me; started; on semi-colons.