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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Comma, Comma, Comma, Comma, Chamelion

I have mentioned The Phantom Prof on this site before, but if you haven't been over to her site let me tell you - it is a must read.

Not only does she have great college tales that no one else has dared to tell, she also gives great advice.

Recently I emailed her after reading one of her posts. I mentioned in that email that I have no idea when to use a comma and that oft times I use the comma splice like Emeril uses seasonings. I just throw them in willy nilly - bam - a comma, here, bam, a comma there - bam, bam, bam. You get the idea.

Elaine a.ka. The Phantom Prof was nice enough to respond with an email that has some really great tips. Please pardon her lack of capitalization, in the emails she always types everything lowercase and she had no idea that I was going to share this information with the rest of the internet.


commas are simple. they represent a pause. they break up items in a list. they serve as separators between nouns and sometimes between adjectives. the main rules are just a few.

in direct address, as in "Eddo, you need to use a comma," you need a comma after the name of the person you're addressing.(this is one NO ONE seems to do correctly
anymore.)

you need commas when you use month, date and year: He was
born January 7, 2005, in Dallas. (note the commas before AND after the
year)

ditto when you mention city AND state within a
sentence: Eddo traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii, on his recent
vacation.

put commas and most other marks INSIDE punctuation marks.
as in: "Eddo, we'll eat at five," said Martha.

in a list of adjectives, you use commas to separate them only if you could substitute the word AND instead of the comma. for example, you'd use them here: He wore a yellow, red, white and blue bandanna on his head.

But you wouldn't need the commas if you said, "His head was covered by a ragged red cotton bandanna." Because you'd never say "ragged and red and cotton
bandanna."

does that make sense? really, it's easy. pause. list.
dates. city/state. adjectives/AND.
I hope that all of this is helpful.

Blog on my blogging brothas and sistas!

contributed by: eddo of posted note

7 Comments:

Blogger Valerie - Riding Solo said...

Thank you. Commas,where to put same, when to use same make me, CRAZY. I needed the help!

7:14 AM

 
Anonymous gigem said...

I totally agree that Elaine of the "Phantom Prof" is a great/must read! What a shame that SMU felt they no longer needed her services...

2:48 PM

 
Blogger Peg said...

Hey, thanks for the lesson. Most times I think I over use comma's and these "..." HA HA So, was this post for me?

11:22 AM

 
Blogger Edgy Mama said...

We should talk about commas after introductory phrases at some point as well. And em dashes.

Nicely organized, Prof.

11:30 AM

 
Blogger Edgy Mama said...

We should talk about commas after introductory phrases at some point as well. And em dashes.

Nicely organized, Prof.

11:31 AM

 
Blogger Amstaff Mom said...

A Grammar refresher course is always helpful. All this blogging is pushing my English class limit.

7:09 AM

 
Blogger Lia said...

just because i'm a grammar fanatic, and not to be critical, but elaine left out one of my favorite categories: separating clauses. oh, and what about parenthetical expressions? there are many, many uses for the versatile comma. we should talk some time.

7:43 AM

 

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