Monday, July 25

grammar lesson: commas

For once here is a nice, ladylike, flowery heading for this post. Speaking of ladylike-ness, I would like to say that my five oldest hens (Mary Lou, a Barred Rock, at left) aren't very ladylike. Oh, sure, I can hear them protesting loudly, but the way they steal food from the little ones and bother/annoy/steal from the roosters is definitely not very ladylike. My hens are more the loud, obnoxious, feminist, lazy, and bossy female type rather than the sweet, unassuming,  gentle, smart and ladylike female type.
Ah, chicken personalities. I love them! I have sweet docile little pullets, fire-brand little hens, a gentlemanly-chivalrous (yet not exactly the brightest bulb!) Silkie rooster, a gangly cockerel, a dumb yet lovable blonde Polish hen, a paranoid Leghorn hen, and a slew of other personalities in my coop.

I have been brainstorming, trying to think of a topic to post about, but have come up blank.....

I believe I will post a short lesson in punctuation, namely, the correct use of the comma, for the benefit of all.

Commas are used to separate thoughts or ideas. 
Example A:
"Because I am going away, you need not bother delivering the milk."

If the sentence can be divided into two sentences, such as this:

"I really need to blow my nose, it's dripping all over the floor!"

Chances are you shouldn't put a comma there, it would be wrong. As demonstrated by my last sentence! This is an unfortunately extremely common mistake I have noticed often in different books and periodicals. It irked me to see the much-loved little comma abused in this way.

 You can either a) place a semi-colon [;] there, or divide it into two sentences.
Example B:

"I really need to blow my nose; it's dripping all over the floor!"
Example C:
"I really need to blow my nose. It's dripping all over the floor!"
 (You can tell I made up the examples!)

Example  D: 
"Andromeda decided to buy the orange blue purple green black yellow socks."

That is wrong. It looks wrong, doesn't it? That, my friends, is why we need commas!
Example E:
"Andromeda decided to buy the orange, blue, purple, green, black, and yellow socks." 

Too many commas:
"Andromeda decided to buy the orange, blue, purple, green, black, and yellow, socks."
That one extra comma can make a difference!

~ Finis. Enough punctuation for now. Next lesson will be on that infamous apostrophe, plurals, and why Bill's cats were fat. 

A handy chart from the New Yorker.

"How art thou out of breath when thou hast breath
To say to me that thou art out of breath? "  ~ Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, the only witty thing Juliet EVER says!

"O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, 
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers! 
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times." ~ Julius Caesar 

Speaking of Caesars, I have two things to say. A) I love ancient Roman history. B) You should try making this Caesar salad; it is delicious, easy to make, and delicious.

"...Parting is such sweet sorrow!" 

~ Diana

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