Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Comma, comma, chameleon

No, I am not having a 1980's flashback nor am I in love with Boy George.  Although, Karma Chameleon is a catchy tune.  just work with me here...

We all have passions in life, mine is writing.  However, I am a lousy writer.  I don't know the ins and outs of sentence structure.  Sure, I know what a noun and a verb are. I can even tell you what an adjective and an adverb are.  But, that is about the extent of my knowledge.  I struggle with the simplest of things, like commas.!  I am quite certain there was a time in school (elementary, middle, and high - just for reiterations sake) that an English teacher attempted to drill the facts into my brain.  Sadly, the only thing that I remember is that small little factoid that told me a comma is to act as a natural pause in a sentence.  Well, isn't that a fun fact?! isn't always so great for someone like me who writes like they talk, or rather think.  I think, and talk, in chunks.  It's like words come to my mind and I can get a sentence out, a run-on sentence actually, and all this stuff is like verbal vomit.  Yet there are times when the words don't come to mind...the thought sits and sits and sits, waiting ever patiently for the birth of more words and all I get is that pregnant pause, where lo and behold a comma goes! Crazy, right?!

So, what should I do about this?  This desire to write, to put forth letters in manner they form words, and words in a manner they form sentences, and sentences in a manner they form logical thought, and logical thought in a manner they form a story.  I'm sure there are a hundred English majors or English teachers just itching to take a red pen to this blog post alone.  I mean, am I using proper grammar o.O?  In fact, it is something I should actually care about.  After all, Blogger even tells us that correctly articulated thought brings a reader back.  Well, shoot...that's where you are all running to - another blog with proper sentence structure!  GASP!  I feel so deserted.

Regardless, there are the basics and these we should all know.  For instance:

Long lists of things get commas.  You don't necessarily have to put a comma between the next to last thing listed and the word 'and', but it doesn't hurt to use it either.  Use commas in a sentence when there is additional information used that doesn't change the meaning of the sentence.  Use it in dates and places.  Use it between multiple adjectives where the word 'and' would make sense. 

BUT do not use a comma, just, for, the, sake, of using a, comma...see that totally doesn't make sense!

There, I've said my piece.  I'm sure I will still mess this grammar thing up, but as long as I stop here I'm OK.  Now about that blasted semi-colon...



  1. Oh, silly, Mandy! Have you read most other blog posts? Grammatical errors galore! And it doesn't matter if you can name all the rules as long as you know how to follow them...and know when it's okay to break them! Shoot, I can read the local paper and pick out a zillion grammatical and spelling errors. I can read my own past blog posts and pick out 50 gazillion. No one's perfect! The most important thing is that your writing is engaging and that your errors aren't so blatant that they prevent the reader from "feeling" your message because they are internally editing your work. You, my friend, are in no danger of distracting your readers with grammatical missteps. Keep writing!

    1. Thank you, friend, you put a smile on my face. I have to agree, even without much education where grammar is concerned, I too find multiple mistakes in the paper and online news posts. Sadly, those people are actually getting paid for it. Hmmm...I may be in the wrong line of work. hehehe