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General Chat - anything Goes > Is the comma heading for a full stop?

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message 1: by Gordon (new)

Gordon Bickerstaff (gfb12345) | 14 comments Is it time to scrap the comma? Professor John McWhorter of Columbia University suggests that modern writing could do without it.

So I looked at the first two chapters of my novel 'Deadly Secrets' and took out all the commas. That caused confusion because I had employed commas but I did realise that I could have written sentences differently to greatly reduce comma usage.


message 2: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Hill | 1603 comments Sentence structure would have to change if commas were scrapped. They can often be crucial for changing the meaning of a sentence. In my humblest of opinions, it's another example of people being lazy and unable to use proper grammar.


message 3: by Francis (new)

Francis Franklin (francisjamesfranklin) Commas are here to stay. Period. :-)

Although they used to be used much more liberally. I've developed a very minimalist approach to comma use in my own writing.


message 4: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25093 comments There are lots of books around in which people apply them as if they're using a salt shaker. You don't need a comma every time you think a reader will breathe in! However, there are places where a missing comma can change the sense of the sentence and make it mean something totally different. They are needed but they're used far more often than they are needed.


message 5: by Richard (new)

Richard Martinus | 646 comments Oh lord, can you imagine PG Wodehouse without commas?

"Jeeves in speaking of this Fink-Nottle had if you remember described him as disgruntled and it was plain at a glance that the passage of time had done nothing to gruntle him."


message 6: by Andy (new)

Andy Elliott | 1524 comments It's taken me over twenty years to shake off the Oxford comma; the prof can't expect me to rid myself of the curly full stop altogether, surely?


message 7: by Joo (last edited Feb 09, 2014 05:00AM) (new)

Joo (jooo) | 1636 comments I put down a book after just 2 pages 'cos I had comma fatigue. Way, way, way too many. I may not know all the technical rules for their use but I am totally in favour of them.



Should there be one before the but?


message 8: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25093 comments No because but is a conjunction.
Or is that an inflamation of the eye? ;)


message 10: by G.R. (new)

G.R. Matthews | 2 comments I'd fight for the continued existence of the comma!

"Aye, fight and you may die. Run and you’ll live — at least a while. And, dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our commas!?!"


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments I know it as a serial comma. We were taught to use it in school. Then wer were told not to.


message 13: by David (last edited Feb 09, 2014 06:05AM) (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 7939 comments Removing appropriately placed commas would be like removing road signs, leading to utter confusion!


message 14: by Andy (new)

Andy Elliott | 1524 comments David wrote: "Removing appropriately placed commas would be like removing road signs, leading to utter confusion!"

http://www.lifedownloaded.com/blog/wp...


message 15: by David (new)

David Manuel | 1147 comments ...comma comma comma comma comma chameleon...


message 16: by Gordon (new)

Gordon Bickerstaff (gfb12345) | 14 comments While I agree with all the comments about the importance of the comma.

I think the good professor was thinking about the readers of the future. In 20-30 years many readers will be guided by text & email English, which frowns on punctuation.

He seems concerned that reading of traditional writing with punctuation will decline in the future because texters will get confused.

I don't think they will get confused but cue title for future eBook -'How to Read Books Containing Curly Things and Other Non-words' :)


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments David wrote: "...comma comma comma comma comma chameleon..."

Someone had to. Not surprised it was a David.


message 18: by David (new)

David Manuel | 1147 comments Patti (baconater) wrote: "David wrote: "...comma comma comma comma comma chameleon..."

Someone had to. Not surprised it was a David."


Boy David!


message 19: by Joo (last edited Feb 09, 2014 09:45AM) (new)

Joo (jooo) | 1636 comments Andy wrote: "David wrote: "Removing appropriately placed commas would be like removing road signs, leading to utter confusion!"

http://www.lifedownloaded.com/blog/wp......"


Have a look on how to design signs.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publica... (Chapter 7)
Then there are the extra rules for Welsh signs !!!!!


message 20: by Andy (new)

Andy Elliott | 1524 comments Joo The Grand Inquisitor wrote: "Have a look on how to design signs.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publica... (Chapter 7)
Then there are the extra rules for Welsh signs !!!!!
..."


Are there York notes available?


Rosemary (grooving with the Picts) (nosemanny) | 9111 comments No, no, no. No, no and no.

Go commas!


message 22: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown | 4128 comments Fact of the day: comma, spelt backwards, is Russian for carrot. :)


message 23: by Francis (new)

Francis Franklin (francisjamesfranklin) I thought it was one of those funny beds they had in sailing ships?


message 24: by Andy (new)

Andy Elliott | 1524 comments Budum,tish.


message 25: by Jud (new)

Jud (judibud) | 18543 comments Gordon wrote: "While I agree with all the comments about the importance of the comma.

I think the good professor was thinking about the readers of the future. In 20-30 years many readers will be guided by text ..."


N tht cse mst vwls'll prbly b xtnct 2.


message 26: by Darren (new)

Darren Humphries (darrenhf) | 6980 comments Chapter 7 of the Traffic Signs Manual! By 'eck that takes me back.


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Darren wrote: "Chapter 7 of the Traffic Signs Manual! By 'eck that takes me back."

Is Darren sad for being excited by it?

Oh yes. Sad sad sad.


message 28: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown | 4128 comments Francis wrote: "I thought it was one of those funny beds they had in sailing ships?"

Carrot...hammock...easy to confuse the two!


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments R.M.F wrote: "Fact of the day: comma, spelt backwards, is Russian for carrot. :)"

I'm now in the midst of verifying that with a Russian friend. ;)


message 30: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown | 4128 comments Patti (baconater) wrote: "R.M.F wrote: "Fact of the day: comma, spelt backwards, is Russian for carrot. :)"

I'm now in the midst of verifying that with a Russian friend. ;)"


It was a lie, a dirty great lie! :) It's amazing how many people believe me! I was watching Alan Partridge earlier, hence the inspiration.

For sale: one bridge.


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