Monday, July 2, 2012

Use of Commas

When I was young, I had the habit of writing something and then grabbing a handfull of commas and throwing them in. I'm still not a master of punctuation, but I am getting better at it. Here are a few rules to mesmerize:

1.) Remeber those co-ordinating conjunctions? (and, but are the most commonly used)I remember them by dressing them up in outfits and standing them at intersections (I'm a visual learner). Well, put a comma after them when they are directing two independant clauses.

2.) A comma can be used to set off a clause of a phrase that simply adds information.

The girl, red hat strategically placed on her head, rode her horse down the road.

It sure beats: The girl gode her horse down the road.

3.) Another method of comma use that's fun is when you want to mess with people's heads.   Everybody has used;  When, After, Before, Because, If, the second part of a sentence marked by a comma:

Example: The rescue crew launched their boats, after the monstrous waves calmed down.

Reversing this for effect.

Example: After the monstrous waves clamed down, the rescue crew launched their boats.

Use it at the begining or end of a paragraph, but don't use it too often or you'll just irritate people.

4.) This is a good one. It lets you take your character somewhere quickly. In this commas are used in a series.


John ran down the hill, onto the dock, and dove into the water in an clumsy attempt to drown himself.

By using commas in a series you can really move things along.

5.) The last one I'm going to mention is helpful in creating a disjointing feeling:

Sometimes people write: The calm and placid lake reflected a perfect image of the boat.

Commas inserted to ser off a phrase out of its natural order.

Example: The lake, calm and placid, reflected a perfect image of the boat.

I like the second one, it just feels artsy.

So, I hope you find the following rules helpful.

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