Monster Monday: Commas for Clarity.

Whatever certainty that you think you have about the comma, today in “Commas for Clarity” we reach one of those uncertain times. We know a comma would help, but should we use one? Or two? Why should that comma be there at all?

Here’s a couple of answers for that uncertainty.

Links that Separate / The Comma

Alfred Smedburg’s 1912 “Bland tomtar och troll” / public domain image

Commas for Clarity

As a link that separates, we’ve seen the comma join common (equal) elements. Commas balance and group similar and dissimilar elements, including grouped items within a series. And we’re beginning to see, with the double adjective comma, how the mark creates clarity for the reader.

Clarity clears up meaning in order to avoid confusion. Some clarity is a matter of style (as people claimed the Oxford comma was a matter of style). When a writer wants to phrase a sentence in a certain manner, the writer will add a comma or two or three to help us to group phrases and pause for mental breaths. Continue reading “Monster Monday: Commas for Clarity.”

Monster Monday: Conventional Commas 1, 2, 3

Links That Separate

The Comma

Alfred Smedburg’s 1912 “Bland tomtar och troll” / public domain image

Conventional Commas

Conventional = usual, most common

As noted in the last blog, these Conventional Commas are the ones that we see most often but scarcely notice.

Here’s the list of the 6 uses:
  1. Interjected Elements
  2. Direct Address
  3. Addresses / Dates
  4. Titles with a Name
  5. Number Sequences
  6. Double Adjectives

Today, we’ll work through uses 1, 2, 3. Next Monday, we’ll cover 4, 5, 6. Continue reading “Monster Monday: Conventional Commas 1, 2, 3”

Monster Monday: 3 Common Commas

Monster Monday continues our focus on the comma with 3 Common Commas.  If you learn nothing else about the comma, remember the foundational information of this lesson.

Alfred Smedburg’s 1912 “Bland tomtar och troll” / public domain image

Function 3: Links that Separate

3 Common Commas

Common Commas

The Common Commas are so-called because we encounter these uses more than any others.

The three uses fit these categories: Linking / Conjoining / Attributing. Continue reading “Monster Monday: 3 Common Commas”

Monster Monday: Monstrous Commas with Conjunctions

Monstrous Monday resumes with that great monster of Punctuation, the Comma: pervasive, ticky and tricky, devious little mark that demands use and hates over-use. Today, we introduce the comma along with its buddy the conjunction.

Alfred Smedburg’s 1912 “Bland tomtar och troll” / public domain image

Function 3: Links that Separate

The Comma

The only punctuation mark more widely used than the comma is the period.

The period means stop. The comma means pause and has this appearance: ,

When you read a sentence aloud, as if you were speaking in a normal conversation, you will hear a slight pause that helps identify where the comma will be placed. That’s a quick way to know when you need to use a comma. The better way is to know and understand the various uses of the comma.

The comma is the true mark that  links and separates. We have journeyed through the unusual colon and the semi-common semicolon. We delayed the comma, remember, to keep learning focused, for once students believe they know something, then they pay no attention. Also, those teaching these links do not realize how much time mastery of the colon and the semicolon will consume. Continue reading “Monster Monday: Monstrous Commas with Conjunctions”