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The Comma Options · View
DirtyMartini
Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 9:14:11 AM

Rank: Purveyor of Poetry & Porn

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Somebody just posted this in a FB writing group...

The Most Comma Mistakes...
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/21/the-most-comma-mistakes/



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DirtyMartini
Posted: Monday, June 11, 2012 6:25:43 PM

Rank: Purveyor of Poetry & Porn

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Yeah, commas can be important...



You know you want it, you know you need it bad...get it now on Amazon.com...
Lush Erotica, an Anthology of Award Winning Sex Stories

principessa
Posted: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 1:56:03 PM

Rank: Sophisticate

Joined: 8/23/2011
Posts: 4,310
Location: Canada
Hey Clum -

Something to add to the list when you get back to your punctuation/grammar lessons: the gerund.

I have noticed a spate of that verb form used alone in sentences, which makes them sentence fragments, as there is no active verb anywhere further along in the sentence.

I am looking forward to the primer beginning again.
clum
Posted: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 2:46:48 PM

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principessa wrote:
Hey Clum -

Something to add to the list when you get back to your punctuation/grammar lessons: the gerund.

I have noticed a spate of that verb form used alone in sentences, which makes them sentence fragments, as there is no active verb anywhere further along in the sentence.

I am looking forward to the primer beginning again.


Will need to do some research on that but should be doable.

Need to get into some sort of routine and then I'll get back to doing these thread. This whole working nine 'til five thing is really throwing me off.

She Just Wants To Be

Third place entry in the Toy With Me competition.
principessa
Posted: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 3:25:27 PM

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Thank you, C.
1ball
Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 11:45:17 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 9/13/2011
Posts: 970
Location: United States
clum wrote:
Before Conjunctions

Commas should not, in general, be used before a conjunction (I'm thinking of 'and' and 'but' in particular). There are certainly exceptions to this rule but they are few and far between. If in doubt, don't use a comma.

Example

She came over to the house and watched the film with me but it took me a full hour to build up the courage to jump her bones.

Notice how I didn't use any commas, even though it is tempting to place one before 'but' (and sometimes I swither myself). It's just something to be wary of.


I've got to disagree with this one. Rule #2 from http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/commas.htm

Use a comma + a little conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so) to connect two independent clauses, as in "He hit the ball well, but he ran toward third base."

I sometimes fail to put them in, especially before 'and', and I notice, after I submit the story, that it needed one. As we are from countries that sometimes seem to be separated by a common language, this might be a national preference, but it doesn't seem so.

My latest story is too hot to publish. My most recent story before that is Even Stranger In Lust
clum
Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012 3:06:40 AM

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1ball wrote:
I've got to disagree with this one. Rule #2 from http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/commas.htm

Use a comma + a little conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so) to connect two independent clauses, as in "He hit the ball well, but he ran toward third base."

I sometimes fail to put them in, especially before 'and', and I notice, after I submit the story, that it needed one. As we are from countries that sometimes seem to be separated by a common language, this might be a national preference, but it doesn't seem so.


Fair enough; I'm not the grammar police and I'm not going to go through all your stories removing what I believe are misplaced commas. This is what I believe works best, particularly for novice writers and especially for the words 'and' and 'but'.

Of course, sometimes a comma would be appropriate before the conjunction but that's really up to the writer. The ultimate goal is to have a piece of writing read as fluidly as possible (in most cases) and sometimes a comma helps with that, sometimes it doesn't.

To quote the paragraph immediately following the one you did,

Quote:
Contending that the coordinating conjunction is adequate separation, some writers will leave out the comma in a sentence with short, balanced independent clauses (such as we see in the example just given). If there is ever any doubt, however, use the comma, as it is always correct in this situation.


and so I would only use the comma if not doing so left room for ambiguity. The complexity of the writing of novice authors is usually not such that this is ever a problem.

She Just Wants To Be

Third place entry in the Toy With Me competition.
1ball
Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012 1:36:40 PM

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clum wrote:

Fair enough; I'm not the grammar police and I'm not going to go through all your stories removing what I believe are misplaced commas. This is what I believe works best, particularly for novice writers and especially for the words 'and' and 'but'.


I can easily agree that it can work best for 'and'. I'm way less likely to stumble while reading if the comma before an 'and' is missing (in the case of independent clauses).

We went to the store and I saw a pretty girl working there.

I do stumble while reading if the comma before a 'but' is missing, especially if the sentence is longer. I think of it as the "verb, but verb" rule.

I went to the store to see the pretty girl who works there, but she wasn't working that day.

Maybe it's just me, but it's like hitting a bump in the road when it's missing.


My latest story is too hot to publish. My most recent story before that is Even Stranger In Lust
clum
Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012 3:13:13 PM

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1ball wrote:
Maybe it's just me, but it's like hitting a bump in the road when it's missing.


I agree with that comma.

She Just Wants To Be

Third place entry in the Toy With Me competition.
F_Star
Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 2:53:58 AM

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Joined: 6/17/2012
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I never use commas because they slow down the reader. You don't need anything but periods if you are writing well and you don't even need those if you don't want to use them. A friend read one of my stories. Why don't you use any punctuation? she asked me. I told her I was trying to create a sense of immediacy. Starkness. No longer any boundaries between reader and narrator.

Or maybe I'd just been reading too much Cormack McCarthy.
Coco
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 8:20:41 PM

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clum
Posted: Monday, May 06, 2013 2:57:26 PM

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Updated 6th May 2013.

She Just Wants To Be

Third place entry in the Toy With Me competition.
Coco
Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014 10:09:55 AM

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sprite
Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014 5:34:11 PM

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i was in a coma for a short time... what? oh. Comma! nevermind. Embarassed

Live, love, laugh.
Coco
Posted: Saturday, March 15, 2014 8:51:40 AM

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Buz
Posted: Saturday, March 15, 2014 9:23:39 AM

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sprite wrote:
i was in a coma for a short time... what?


Oh yeah, that's when we put those tattoos on your butt. But it was worth it. I like the way you make those tattoos dance when you walk.

Buz
Posted: Saturday, March 15, 2014 9:26:07 AM

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Commas are very important if you want your writing to make sense.

Coco
Posted: Tuesday, April 01, 2014 6:18:59 PM

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ChrissieLecker
Posted: Saturday, May 03, 2014 6:00:25 AM

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One thing that I didn't see reflected in this thread or the linked article is the inverted relative clause. This is slowly becoming one of my pet peeves.

Inverted Relative Clauses

If you move it to the front of the sentence, a subordinate clause needs to be separated with a comma.

You can see that the sentence above is an example for such an inversion if you look closely. That the sentence starts with a conjunction (if) should already ring a bell. If you encounter a sentence you aren't sure about, take a closer look and determine which part is the main clause and which one is the subordinate clause.

A subordinate clause needs to be separated with a comma. This is our main statement, the rest only refines its meaning and doesn't make much sense on its own.

The natural order of things would be main clause + conjunction + subordinate clause. If we move the main clause to the back, we need a comma.

ChrissieLecker
Posted: Wednesday, July 09, 2014 10:43:15 AM

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I was recently surfing the web for some better ways to explain where and why commas are missing in a submitted story, and I found this gem of an article that I want to share with you all:
http://hkrauthamer.tripod.com/Comma_rules.html

It is the most comprehensive and correct comma tutorial I have read, and it contains some very insightful rules of thumb. If you want to make sure you are using commas in the right places, this article will be invaluable.

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