Monday, August 23, 2010

Comma Conundrums

I know the current trend is to not worry about using commas. Let's just ignore them. We don't need them to join two independent clauses. Or hey, here's a thought, let's just put them where we want according to our whims!

Sure I'm a stickler, I know that. And commas have been my bane. I have always felt I didn't understand the myriad rules concerning them. I admit I am still learning new nuances of how to use them. And I've learned various rule books have differing views on what is correct. Great. So much for clear-cut answers when I need them. (As an aside, when in doubt, I use CMOS as my guide, just so I can be consistent within my own work.)

But it bothers me to read a book by a long-time author that can go sentences with no commas, even though they are needed to keep meanings clear. Is it the author, the copy editors? Does the publishing world not care anymore?


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At 23 August, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need to do this anonymously so it doesn't get back to the publisher or the editor, but you know me because I pray for you whenever I make tea.

When I got my most recent work back from the "editor" she had taken my PERFECTLY commaed manuscript and filled it with comma splices. That and she'd taken them out where they needed to be.

I asked for a new editor and the publisher told me no, so I had to spend HOURS making sure all the commas were where they belonged. Then she sent back the second round of edits and had done it again. I went to the editor's website, and her WEBSITE is full of comma splices.

How this person got hired is beyond me.

At 23 August, 2010, Blogger L. S. King said...

Gah! I feel for you. {{hugs}}

Copy editors can be a writer's bane. Hm, perhaps that will be tomorrow's mini-topic. ;)

At 23 August, 2010, Blogger Angie said...

Yes, commas are important. Anonymous. Argh! That would drive me crazy!

At 24 August, 2010, Anonymous R. L. Copple said...

I recall someone wrote that comas save lives.

"Should I kill John?"


"Should I kill, John?"

I read something tonight that I figured needed a comma to make any sense, after I read it three times.

I'd pull my hair out if an editor messed up my manuscript like that. Yikes.

At 24 August, 2010, Blogger L. S. King said...

LOL Rick!

I actually had a copy editor mess up one of my stories with a comma. I had thought I did it, and even wrote a Writer's Cramps article about it, griping one needs to proofread and re-proofread.

Then sometime later, I reread my original ms and discovered I hadn't made the error. A copy editor on the zine had added a comma, changing the whole meaning.

Hm, I think tomorrow's blog might be a rant about copy editors. LOL


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