Grammy’s Grammar Slam
|The punctuation mark comma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Review: The serial comma will kill your work if not careful. You use it for items in a sequence. See the post below this one for details. And a side note. If you don’t like the Oxford comma (the unnecessary one that comes before the last conjunction in a list), remember: that comma comes from Oxford, not Harvard, Princeton, or SUNY. (See how I illustrated the comma?)
Today: Phrases of the Comma
- When using an introductory adverbial or participial phrase, use a comma.
- Adverbial. When I looked at the window, I saw a beautiful woman gazing back at me. (Oops, that was my reflection.)
- Participial. After commenting on the strippers, Xavier and Cordelia left the nightclub.
Notice, in this case, there is confusion without the comma as well. If it is omitted, we first read this as: After commenting on the strippers Xavier and Cordelia. We’ve slurred my two factious antagonists. Which brings me to my second point?
- If a short introductory phrase causes confusion, you use the comma.
- I’m confused. After shooting the cop put his gun away.
Did he shoot the cop? Obviously not.
- I’m no longer confused. After shooting, the cop put his gun away.
- Oh and ahs—only if a slight pause is intended.
- Oh, Carol is delightful
- Ah, I didn’t win the super lottery. Next time I’ll buy a ticket.
c. Exception. Oh no. Ah yes. Oh my, I will never learn this stuff.
4. Direct address. That’s when you address someone directly.
a. Hey, Reader, I’m talking to you.
5. No no no! Yes yes yes!
a. Yes and nos get comma-d at the beginning of a work
b. But when you say, No no no! or Yes yes yes! No comma
Have I confused you yet?
Sorry. In my next blog, I’ll strive for that. Remember a test is coming. It will have bonus points if you find my punctuation errors. What are your peeves?