Until I started doing my share of editing at our snarky sports site, The Daily Player, I took the lowly little comma for granted.
We encourage freelance submissions, and we get some great stuff. However, I cannot begin to count the number of authors — some of whom are very literate — who have simply never come to terms with sentence organization.
Basic grammar skills are the foundation of effective presentations.
Whether it’s an article, an e-mail, or a social media comment, your narrative is a direct reflection of your credibility and authority.
Yes, the basics are simple; every sentence needs a subject (ie- what’s it about?) and a verb (ie- what’s it doing?), but it’s amazing how often grammatical disarray can occur after that.
How important are commas? Well, to a complete dolt, they’re a health risk if not applied correctly:
The ease with which our eyes identify word groups in sentences has a strong effect not only on how quickly we recognize the writer’s point, but on how smoothly we understand it.
The more efficient this process is, the longer we can hold the reader’s attention. It follows, then, that the longer we can keep the reader engaged, we have more opportunity for that reader to become a regular visitor to our site or blog, and possibly even a customer.
Think of punctuation as the road signs for our writing. They often serve as dividers for word groups; certain word types perform this function, too, such as prepositions, conjunctions, and the like.
However, for our purposes, those words usually have a way of falling into place by themselves. Commas can be pesky, and our goal here is to convert them into our friends!
There are a number of rules regarding commas. Here are six of the most common:
In my humble experience, these will cover the vast majority of a writer’s issues with commas. Once you begin writing on a regular basis, these keys start to come naturally.