I have learned the hard way that I shouldn’t read my old posts. Every time I do, I find something I don’t like about it. Or I’ll edit and re-edit the damn thing.
I can spend ages fiddling around with the sentence structure because on my second viewing I decide I put the comma‘s in the wrong spot or (God forbid) I didn’t use a comma at all where I should have.
Mind you, my nemesis is the comma. Well more accurately it is the ‘comma splice’ and all it’s annoying-ness. When I took Introduction to Writing at the University of Maryland it was my most common error.
My tutor would hand back my assignment with lots of little red circles scattered over the page like random holes made by a miniature shotgun blast. He would always tell me that I would have gotten the top grade on my little writing projects if I could just curb my incessant misuse of comma’s.
My excuse was always the same. “If I read the sentence in my head and I have to take an abstract, or metaphysical breath I insert a comma.” My tutor would shake his head at my ignorance and say, “Then stop breathing when you read or better still make your sentences shorter.”
I decided that short sentences were the answer. I became the Ernest Hemingway of English 101. Although to be honest I began to feel more like the author of the “Dick and Jane” text books that occupy the first grade school library. Of course this Hemingway type of writing did not last long. In a very short time I was popping so many comma splices in my sentences that my tutor began to call me “Splicer.”
Eventually I mastered (a little) the use of the comma, but I still feel the overwhelming urge to insert them whenever I have to take a mental breath while reading the sentence. I graduated with a B average which was okay by me.
Comma splicer I might well be, but, I never dangled a participle or mixed up my tense’s. That would have been unforgivable.
- APW: The Comma (aplaceforwriters.wordpress.com)
- About Writing on Wednesdays: I’m Confused, Where’s That Comma Go Again? (curiocat.wordpress.com)
- What is Wrong with Run-on Sentences? (writinghood.com)
- Punctuation: The Comma That Kills! (cordelia.typepad.com)
- commas rules worksheets grade 3 (osbornwinter.typepad.com)
- Paragraphs, Periods, and Commas (fresh1nk.wordpress.com)