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Monday, February 23, 2009

Poll Results 24

So, commas, eh?

What punctuation mark's rules give you the most trouble?

Comma: 22 (37%)

Semicolon: 18 (31%)

Quotation Marks: 7 (12%)

Colon: 8 (13%)

Other: 3 (5%)

Ask me and I'll try to help ease your troubles.


Fennel Giraffe said...

My main problem is making the various comma usage rules play nicely together. I'll write a sentence where I need a comma here for this reason and there for that reason, so that by the time it's done, there are commas littered all over. I'm pretty sure that isn't a good thing.

Sometimes I'll take comma proliferation as a sign the sentence is too complicated and needs to be broken up. Other times, though, breaking it up comes out choppy, and I think it flows better as is.

Are some commas better to omit than others?

The Sentence Sleuth said...

There are some optional commas and then there are the mandatory ones. One of the ones I consider optional (some disagree) is when you're doing a short series and are using a comma to separate the items (it's called the serial comma):
I like beans, cheese, and strawberries.
That last comma, I think, is optional.