Comma

Comma: (n) a punctuation mark (,) indicating a pause between parts of a sentence

Belligerent.

Yes, downright sour-tongued and steamed.

That is how I would characterize one of the publishers I forwarded my material to when I was a very young man, believing that merely jotting
something down on a pad of paper and sending it off was the doorway to the bestsellers list.

Within a few weeks, I received a letter from a copywriter, who was evidently greatly offended. She had deemed me to be ignorant, backwoods and perhaps even insolent because of my overuse of commas.

I was young.

I liked a good comma.

Maybe I overdid my commas and had to sleep them off the next morning–but that’s the way we are during our growing up years. Because the commas are so available, and no one puts restrictions on them, and the rules for using them are ambiguous, if not incoherent, I stuck in a comma every few words, just to ensure that I knew they existed.

There was some awareness on my part of where a comma might need to go.

But it took me a long time to realize that periods are stop signs and commas are speed bumps. And unless you want your reader to purposely drive fifteen miles per hour, bouncing up and down every 150 feet, you should use the comma sparingly.

Because after I was thoroughly rebuked by this dear woman, I realized that sometimes small-minded, officious, self-righteous paragraph-pushers can still make a good point.

So, as you can see, I am nearly, completely, totally, and thoroughly, cured.

 

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