Susan Uttendorfsky of Adirondack Editing is back with a post about a punctuation “rule” most of us probably aren’t even aware of—even though we sort of know how to apply it. It’s fun to play around with what “sounds right” to native speakers and speculate as to why.
I’ve argued that you really need only five comma rules to use commas “correctly,” but as Susan points out, commas have other roles, such as controlling emphasis. Commas are strategic tools for writers.
Can you have too many? Absolutely, if they’re inserted where their only role is to interrupt your text. Actually, if you can apply my five rules, you’ll never be “wrong.” Hardest to apply? I’d argue that it can be tricky for some of us to recognize when an element like a non-essential modifier begins and ends.
So what are the comma dilemmas that drive you nuts? Let me know!
Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.
Courtesy ofAdirondack Editing
Adjectives – and the Commas That Go With Them…
So, you’re merrily typing along and your character wants to put on a blue, silk, handmade scarf. Oh, wait a minute. Is that a silk, blue, handmade scarf or a handmade, silk, blue scarf? A blue, handmade, silk scarf? Oh dear!
Aha! Super Editor to the rescue!
(Imagine me swooping over your house and flying in your window, red pen in hand!)
(Ok, now imagine me 10 pounds lighter. Another ten. Ok, that’s better.)
Adjective order in English is not completely random, although what we’re going to discuss are more along the lines of guidelines rather than rules. The exception is when you’re speaking of words of general description along with words…
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