Thursday, October 15, 2009

Self-Editing Tips

Oh my. I just went back to see when the last time I posted a self-editing tips lesson—March 26. Yikes!! Didn't think it had been that long.

We're still on commas, the one piece of punctuation that has the most rules! We left off at parenthetical material set off by commas.

So today we'll cover a "rule" that is in a state of flux: when to use the comma in direct address. Used to be that anytime someone was spoken to using their name in dialogue, it was set apart with commas. And that rule still applies in sentences like these examples:

Officer, can you direct me toward the Southeast Expressway?
You have too many ands, buts, and sos in your essay, Dora.
For the moment, Carl, let's leave it alone.

However, today there is a shift toward dropping some of those commas in very short sentences/fragments. Like:

"But John . . ."

Go with your ear on these. If you don't put a pause in before saying the person's name, then leave the comma out.

Next week we'll talk about when to put commas in with adjectives.

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