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Commas (Part Two)

Back to the basics with regular Challenge winner, Ann Grover. Weekly lessons to help you hone your basic writing skills.

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Anja
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Commas (Part Two)

Postby Anja » Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:31 pm

I’m going to keep adding “comma rules” every few days, from the simplest usage to the most difficult.


Commas - Part 2

Use commas when writing dates, geographical names, addresses, and titles after names.

She was born on March 11, 1889, in Telemark, Norway, and died on September 24, 1970, in New York, New York, USA.

Who lives at 24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada?

Alex Gallagher, Ph.D., was the keynote speaker at the HIV conference in June 2002.


Yes, all those commas. Yes, there MUST be a comma after every element.

But, note the “absent” comma in the last example. NO comma is needed if the month and year are the only elements of the date.


Use commas to set off words in DIRECT ADDRESS.


It is your responsibility, John, to take care of the animals.

I think, ma’am, you have missed the train.

Fellow Canadians, I urge you to respond to the situation in Haiti
.


Use commas to set off mild INTERJECTIONS and after / before “yes” and “no” and “please.”

No, I will not be going to the concert.

Oh, take it away, please.

Yes, there will be a potluck on Sunday.



Use commas to set off certain parenthetical elements. (Parenthetical = non-essential.)

Remember, however, to turn the tap off when you are finished.

It was, I believe, the third time she failed the driver’s test.



Questions?
Ann Grover

"What remains of a story after it is finished? Another story..." Eli Wiesel

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Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:13 pm

Not a question, but an observation...the one most often neglected here seems to be the rule about commas and direct address.

This isn't original with me, but it shows the importance of that little comma:

Let's eat, Grandma! is very different from

Let's eat Grandma!

Commas save lives.
Jan Ackerson

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Postby Anja » Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:22 pm

glorybee wrote:
Let's eat, Grandma! is very different from

Let's eat Grandma!

Commas save lives.


I was just thinking about this example today... and you... haha.

I have a few other ones, too.
Ann Grover

"What remains of a story after it is finished? Another story..." Eli Wiesel

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Postby Keleitha » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:05 pm

glorybee wrote:Not a question, but an observation...the one most often neglected here seems to be the rule about commas and direct address.

This isn't original with me, but it shows the importance of that little comma:

Let's eat, Grandma! is very different from

Let's eat Grandma!

Commas save lives.


:rolling :rolling :heehee
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Commas

Postby browniesgal » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:17 pm

:heehee Oh, by all means use the comma and save a grandma! :mrgreen:
Loved it. Ruth

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Postby CatLin » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:27 pm

How about a little help commatizing this sentence from a book review I'm writing. I've changed it 3 or 4 times and I'm still not sure...

Ms. Petrino-Salter introduces the reader to Joey Parr on the day of his birth, and from that day forward his life plagued by conflict.

Should "from that day forward" be set off by commas, or should there be a comma only after "forward", or is it correct as is? I originally had the phrase set off but it seemed like too many commas.

Help!
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Postby Keleitha » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:49 pm

CatLin wrote:How about a little help commatizing this sentence from a book review I'm writing. I've changed it 3 or 4 times and I'm still not sure...

Ms. Petrino-Salter introduces the reader to Joey Parr on the day of his birth, and from that day forward his life plagued by conflict.

Should "from that day forward" be set off by commas, or should there be a comma only after "forward", or is it correct as is? I originally had the phrase set off but it seemed like too many commas.

Help!


Ms. Petrino-Salter introduces the reader to Joey Parr on the day of his birth, and from that day forward his life is(?) plagued by conflict. you could have a comma or you could leave it out, I think it is one of those yes/no situations.
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Lyn (the Dinosaur from Oz)

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Postby CatLin » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:53 pm

Lynne, thanks for nothing! :lol: Well, not nothing, you found a missing word. That was a HUGE help! :D
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Postby Keleitha » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:05 pm

CatLin wrote:Lynne, thanks for nothing! :lol: Well, not nothing, you found a missing word. That was a HUGE help! :D


:razzberry :sorry :thumbs :wink:
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http://theencouragingscribe.wordpress.com/

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Postby Anja » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:18 pm

CatLin wrote:How about a little help commatizing this sentence from a book review I'm writing. I've changed it 3 or 4 times and I'm still not sure...

Ms. Petrino-Salter introduces the reader to Joey Parr on the day of his birth, and from that day forward his life plagued by conflict.

Should "from that day forward" be set off by commas, or should there be a comma only after "forward", or is it correct as is? I originally had the phrase set off but it seemed like too many commas.

Help!


Yes, set off from that day forward, and do include the missing word "is."

Ms. Petrino-Salter introduces the reader to Joey Parr on the day of his birth, and from that day forward, his life is plagued by conflict.

I'll cover the "why-for" soon.
Ann Grover

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Postby CatLin » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:45 pm

The more I read this sentence the less I like it. Why did I only just realize I used "day" twice? :roll:

I think I see the why-for now myself. Without the commas, it sounds like from the day she introduces him, not from the day of his birth?
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Postby Keleitha » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:04 pm

CatLin wrote:The more I read this sentence the less I like it. Why did I only just realize I used "day" twice? :roll:

I think I see the why-for now myself. Without the commas, it sounds like from the day she introduces him, not from the day of his birth?


Oh, I didn't think of it like that. I knew what you were saying. LOL does that mean I speak fluent Cat? :D
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http://theencouragingscribe.wordpress.com/

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Postby Anja » Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:55 am

CatLin wrote:The more I read this sentence the less I like it. Why did I only just realize I used "day" twice? :roll:

I think I see the why-for now myself. Without the commas, it sounds like from the day she introduces him, not from the day of his birth?


But didn't she introduce him on the day of his birth? So the introduction day and birth day are one and the same.

The "test" for clarity to reverse the "set off" portion.

His life is plagued by conflict from that day forward.

It is logical and not missing anything.

Having said that, there is something that bothers me about the sentence, too, but I didn't say anything because I couldn't put my finger on it.

I think it's the "that day forward." It might be redundant... since life DOES go forward.

It seems to me that you are trying to emphasize the fact his life has been grievous since the day he was born. It's not like there is a "starting point" for the conflict; it's ALWAYS been. It might be better to just state that. Make it the focus of the sentence. Unless, of course, your focus is the introduction by Ms. P-S.

Am I out to lunch?
Ann Grover

"What remains of a story after it is finished? Another story..." Eli Wiesel

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Postby CatLin » Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:52 pm

Nope, Ann, you are definitely in. :D The conflict is the focus. (or the focus is the conflict. ;))

Thanks for your advice. Reversing the clause is great! I'll remember that one.
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