An early trap is confusion: At first, we don’t know what to do with commas. Some frustrated authors will decide to do without them altogether.
This decision leads to chaos and an unreadable manuscript.
I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating:
Commas are to clauses what traffic signals are to streets. They govern the flow of traffic, although, in the case of sentences, the traffic is comprised of words, not cars.
- Commas follow introductory words and clauses. Instead, they took a left turn.
- Commas set off “asides.” Her sister, Sara, brought coffee.
- Commas separate words in lists: We bought apples, oranges, and papayas for the salad.
- Commas join two complete sentences, and once joined, they form one longer sentence. When used too freely, linked clauses can create run-on…
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