Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Commas Are My Friends


It was just yestereve when my darling said those fateful words: "You should send me a link to your blog!" I admit, I am a full-fledged member of the spelling police and have been told I'm an inductee into the grammar division. If a friend asks for an opinion or a critique of their writings, I always caution them with "Do you really want my honest opinion? Or are you just fishing for compliments?" No matter how many times we have done the dance in the past, they always ask for my true opinion. And they generally are quite butt-hurt when they get it, no matter how gently I phrase it, no matter what I may do to soften the blow.

My husband isn't an open member of the spelling and grammar police; he's more like a detective. He will mention to me how awful this or that writing is from this or that person, but he wouldn't dare utter a word of it to them, unless he is absolutely cornered. But we are comfortable with that which is familiar, and so I knew I was in trouble when he asked for the link to my blog.

Ever the self-conscious writer, I asked him tentatively, "What do you think?" 

Now, I always keep in mind that almost everyone has something they consistently do wrong when writing. Perfect spelling these days seems like a rare jewel, and perfect grammar even more so. However, some of those little idiosyncrasies and repeated imperfections give some writing character and can even be said to be a certain writer's style. So I wasn't at all surprised to hear from his corner:

"I like it, but you use way too many commas."

Yes, it seems commas are my little grammar pitfall. I do sprinkle them about quite liberally, wherever I believe they're required...and a few places I know they're not, but it seems that some sort of punctuation is needed. So, I throw in a comma or three for good measure. Commas are my friends. I may be a little too well-acquainted with them, according to my husband.

So if you see my posts littered with too many commas, please know that I am working on it. Old habits die hard.

'Youse yer grammer n spelin az uh weapin',
(Ye gods, that was painful to type!)

Anna Strad.


  1. I suffer from the same disease. I absolutely LOVE commas. I realize that I use them more often than I should, but it just does not look right to me without them strewn about. Not to say that it is improper, per se, but excessive to be sure.

    Also, you forgot to capitalize "I" in the last sentence of your first paragraph. :D

    1. Haha, glad to know I'm not the only one, Ken! Sentences look very run-on to me if there aren't enough commas present (for the long ones, at least). I suppose there are worse grammar pitfalls.

      Thank you for the correction! That one slipped past me entirely; it has been noted and corrected! :3

  2. I like semi-colons myself. Did I spell that right?


    1. Haha, I believe you did! They're another of my favorite punctuations.

  3. Tim at FB Antique typewriters groupAugust 3, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    I love writing and editing myself. I have a friend that gets at me for not using apostrophes. One of the things I get after myself about is word meaning and usage. For instance, in your post here, are you sure you know what "rarefied" means as in "rarefied gem"?

    Enjoying your blog. I would not have the tenacity required to restore typewriters, I did a piano once, but I was much younger then.

    Thanks for accepting my comment.


    1. Thank you for the comment, Tim! I do enjoy editing but find it harder to do so with my own work, because after going over it so many times things begin to blur together and I start missing things.

      Your question got me thinking...so I went and looked it up. Apparently I didn't know the meaning of 'rarefied' (SHAME on me), but I do now! Perhaps I'll go back and edit that, after this reply. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

      I'm glad you're enjoying the blog! Haha, a piano seems a monumental task to me. I don't believe I'd take one on. (Do you have any photos? I'd love to see that!) By comparison, typewriters are little and non-threatening...well, save for Behemoth, who could really do some damage if hurled from a trebuchet at a wall. Fortunately for us all (behemoth included) that will never happen! The Royal is proving to be quite a bit of work, though.

      Thanks again for commenting, and you're welcome!