Does That ‘But’ Really Need A Comma?

imagesZGN867X5I like to highlight my mistakes. I guess my thought is, if I’m doing it, there are plenty of newbies out there doing the same thing. I like to think I’m not alone ūüôā

I noticed something during my current revision that I never saw before. I’m having a¬† love affair with but. That wasn’t the only problem. There were a lot of commas following that but that shouldn’t have been there. My sentences weren’t compound, but they did have compound verbs.

Compound sentences are made up of two independent clauses that could stand on there on.

We went to a restaurant, and I ordered the chicken salad.

Simple sentences with compound verbs are not compound sentences and shouldn’t be divided by a comma. (This sentence is a great example.) Don’t you want to put a comma after and?

I knew I was wrong but couldn’t help myself.

She ran through the woods and jumped over the fence.

If these simple sentences bother you that much, you can make them compound.

I knew I was wrong, but I couldn’t help myself.

She ran through the woods, and she jumped over the fence.

Something to think about.

-Jan R

Does That ‘But’ Really Need A Comma?

Eats, Shoots and Leaves

images-8Many of ¬†my writer friends are familiar with this title. It’s the number one bestseller by Lynne Truss. If you don’t have it, I recommend that you get it. You can probably find used copies on amazon. I bought mine at a library book sale for fifty cents. If you had to pay full price it would only cost you eleven dollars. That’s not a lot to pay for perfect punctuation.

So if you’re following my posts, you know that I became a member of Scribophile(not Scribofile as I spelled in previous blog). I corrected my first critique and worked out my POV only to be waylaid by my incorrect use of commas.

Because of my fear of overusing them, I haven’t been using enough. My last critique was 75%¬†punctuation errors, with about 75% of that being comma use. No Way-right. I fixed one thing and found another. Unfortunately, I think that’s part of the process. As I’ve said many times before, writing is a lot more complicated than it looks.

With that being said, commas are a very important part of a sentence. They not only give you a short break to catch your breath, but they can actually change the meaning of your sentence.

Thus the title of the book. ¬†Look at the two examples and read them with the break provided by the commas. In may help also to know there are pandas on the cover doing silly things. But if you read allowing breaks that shouldn’t matter.

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.

Eats Shoots and Leaves.

Now is that panda eating shoots¬†and leaves¬†or shooting somebody? That’s up to you and how you use punctuation.

I know that’s a simple illustration, but a lot of times that’s what we need to see the obvious. Punctuation is important!

I am sitting here with my copy of Eats Shoots and Leaves correcting punctuation and preparing to post part 3 of my novel.

Have a great day. Hope this helped somebody.

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Eats, Shoots and Leaves