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TIPSY TODAY with Rogena
COMMAS and when to use them...
"What's the difference between a cat and a comma? ONE has claws at the end of its paws, and one is a pause at the end of a clause." =D
When should you use a comma? Some use too many while others use too few. Let's see if we can give a few guidelines. Your editor should be catching these, but if you know ahead of time, you can help alleviate those that might be overlooked.
—After setting the scene at the start of a sentence—Introductory Adverbial Clause or Phrase (e.g., Now I'm older, I understand.)
—After transitional phrases such as, However, Consequently, or As a result (e.g., As a result, I now understand.)
—After an interjection (e.g., Jeepers, now I understand.)
—Before a conjunction joining two independent clauses (e.g., I like chocolate cake, and John likes ice cream on his cake with a little chocolate syrup, too.)
—As parentheses (e.g., Janet and John Baxter, who live next door, adore cakes.)
—To separate list items (e.g., bread, milk, and cheese)
—After a long subject if it helps the reader (e.g., A, B, C, and D, are required to bake this cake.)
—With the vocative case (e.g., I know your parents, John. )
—Before a quotation (e.g., She said, "I understand." OR
—Before a voice tag when writing dialogue (e.g., "I understand," she said. [note lowercase 'she'])
—Comma after dear, hello, or hi (e.g., Hello, Michael. Thanks for buying dinner last night.)
***HOT TIP*** A READING TECHNIQUE NOT A WRITING TECHNIQUE
"At school, many of us were told that a comma is where you take a breath. When you're reading someone else's work, that is fairly good advice. It is, however, terrible advice when you're thinking about where to put commas in your own work.
There are quite a few rules, but most of them are intuitive or pretty simple. The idea that you should put a comma whenever you want your reader to take a breath is an erroneous extrapolation of a reading technique. It's not a writing technique."
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TIPSY TODAY with Rogena © RMJ MS 12/03/14
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