Friday, 6 January 2017

Common Comma Confusion

Mini Tip

Comma use seem to be a problem for everyone, writers included. Here are a few simple tips to remind you about the correct usage for the most common mistakes of not using commas properly.

Commas always have to be used with speaker tags. They also have to be used when description is added in the speaker tag (the dragon), which explains who Snarls (proper noun) is.

"Get off my tail," Snarls, the dragon, said.

 In the next two sentences,  there is a huge difference when a comma is used:

       "Let's eat Petra," Snarls, the dragon, said.
   
       "Let's eat, Petra," Snarls, the dragon, said.

So, since Petra and Snarls are the best of friends, Snarls does not want to eat her, but he wants to invite Petra to eat with him. The second sentence is correct.

Commas offset not just people’s names but anything (animal or object) in direct address:

     "See here, you crazy crocodile--quit snapping your jaws at me," Snarls growled.

     "Snarls, stop teasing Letgo, the crocodle," Petra said.

     "Hurry, all you knights, let's get out of here," Prince Nastybun hollered.

     "Please, King Longstride, begging your pardon, sir."


Reminder: be sure to capitalize professions in direct address:

        "What are the new rules then, Councilman?"

        "Bring the boat around, Captain."

        "No, Father, I don't like the royal rule book."
   
So by remembering these easy rules, Snarls will not be eating Petra. and Petra will be very happy about that.

Illustration by Samantha Kickingbird

copyright Diane Mae Robinson, 2015

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