Comma Chorus

“Put commas where you take a pause,” our teachers used to say.
The comma splice and Oxford comma never came our way.

Now, looking up advice online on commas and the rest,
the rules to shape our formless phrases seem much more complex.


I sought them out. I wrote them down: two posts, then three, then four.
But common sense applied to these suggests that less is more.

Why add pedantic commas if a sentence is concise?
So, when in doubt just leave it out, is my revised advice.


What rule-breaking decisions have you made – in your writing or in life?

13 thoughts on “Comma Chorus

    1. Exactly! When I was at school there was no National Curriculum, so when I changed schools aged ten, my new class was parsing sentences and I hadn’t the foggiest idea what THAT was all about.
      I find, if I leave my writing till next day to read again it usually becomes clear when I’ve got the punctuation wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I sometimes seem to run out of them, commas, that is, perhaps it is a form of frugality, I use them sparingly. I have resolved to use commas more often, not to become reckless but a responsible commarist. I have however learned a lot from these posts, fascinated as ever by the English language, how it changes and evolves.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoy, use, and love all of my Oxford commas! I am confused when one is missing, absent and omitted.

    But I must say their absence is never as disturbing as apostrophe’s that don’t belong in plural noun’s. These can be seen all too often on handmade advertising sign’s in our local store’s!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly, I wrote a blog post about apostrophes, edited it several times and, on reading it when it arrived in my email Inbox, found a grocer’s apostrophe in there. (Of course, I had to edit the post and add a reference to my ‘deliberate mistake’.)

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve always been pretty good with grammar, but it really is getting more complicated. After wasting several minutes googling this a few days ago, I wrote in a cover letter that I’m “twenty-five years old” but later referenced that the theses I’ve edited included “75 pages of text.” Didn’t look right to type “25 years old” or “seventy-five pages of text.” Oh, well!

    Liked by 1 person

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