Friday 2 August 2013

More on Commas.

Yes, this is my third post on commas. Commas seem to be one of the biggest problems for many writers, and I also have a lot to say about them.

Meaning what you say and saying what you mean.

Meaning is everything, and the comma can  make a big difference in your meaning. Pay special attention to phrases that have because and since in them. Check out the sentences below and see if you can tell the difference in meaning with each pair of sentences:
  • I didn’t ride the dragon because you were mad at me.
  • I didn’t ride the dragon, because you were mad at me.
In the first instance, my  riding the dragon had nothing to do with you being mad at me, and that’s what I’m telling you. But with the comma, the sentence means I didn’t ride the dragon for the reason that you were mad at me.  In the 2nd sentence, you being mad at me kept me from riding the dragon, which is the opposite of the first sentence’s meaning.
  • I have tamed dragons since I was nine.
  • I have tamed dragons, since I was nine.
The word since has some different meanings, so by using the comma, you’re being clear. In the first sentence, I started taming dragons at age nine. The second sentence gives the reason I tamed dragons—because I was nine, implying I was at the right age to tame dragons.

So before  taming or riding your dragon, make your sentences clear and edit, edit, edit. That way the reader knows if one character did what they did because the other character was mad at them.

More on the commotion of commas:

And more comma common sense here:

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copyright, Diane Mae Robinson, 2013


  1. comon comon comon more comma!

    I don't really know the rules about commas. I use them as speech markers. If I would pause after a word then a comma goes after that word. For example, if I am calm and simple talking I might write, "I didn't do this because of you." But if I am angry and laying fault I might write, "I didn't do this, because of you!"

    Sometimes I end up putting in a comma where it doesn't belong, but for the most part, the commas were at the right places.

    I suppose it is as good a time as any to learn the rules--or find a very good editor. I wonder which would be easier?

  2. I supposed finding a good editor is easier than learning the rules. The rules are a lot to remember. I have to refer to rules just about every time I write. The more rules you have in your head, the more you second guess everything you write because you're not sure you remember the crazy rule in the first place.

    Notice how the royal rule book is thicker? Learning more rules, rules, ruled.