Comma Usage Made Simple

Written by Michael LaRocca


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(4) And finally, THE rule. It works for narrative and it works for dialogue. Read what you've written aloud. Wherever you would pause for breath, whack in a comma. Because, you have internalizedrepparttar rules. You've been speaking English all your life. But as an aspiring writer, you've been so busy trying to learn "the rules" that you've forgottenrepparttar 147995 rule you've known all along. And you DO know it.

If you'd like, you can look over some sentences inrepparttar 147996 preceding paragraphs. You'll note some commas where they're not strictly necessary. Often, it's where I begin a sentence with a conjunction, also an alleged no-no. But that device can be used sparingly to emphasize a point. And when I do that, sometimes I whip in a comma for extra emphasis. A comma is a pause. That's what you should note if you indulge in this exercise. I'm pausing for emphasis. Read my sentences aloud. Pause at every comma. The rhythm works. It's how I talk, and you won't be all freaked out and confused as you listen because I paused in funny places.

Speaking as an editor, I run into a lot of writers who have problems with commas. Heck, speaking as someone who likes to read books and newspapers and magazines, I see commas where they shouldn't be, or missing commas where they should be. It's because we're trying to be too fancy, drifting dangerously far fromrepparttar 147997 "write what you know" mantra because we think we're stupid.

We're not stupid. As Sean Connery noted in FINDING FORRESTER, critics spend a day destroying what they couldn't create in a lifetime. That's also what I think of people who want us to memorize dozens of silly rules about commas. They're pauses. Nothing more, nothing less. Pause where you want to pause, not where you think someone else thinks you're supposed to pause.

Lemme remind you what writing is. Telepathy. I'm in China and you probably aren't, and you're reading this many months after I wrote it, but you know what I'm thinking. Stray commas would be a barrier to that. Good writers don't like barriers.

Just remember that a comma is a pause, and pause wherever you think you should. Blow offrepparttar 147998 rules -- there are too many and they just keep changing -- and trust your gut. If you do that, I think you'll find that when you seek out publication, and find yourself working with an editor, you'll hear very little about your commas.



Michael LaRocca's website at http://www.chinarice.org was chosen by WRITER'S DIGEST as one of The 101 Best Websites For Writers in 2001 and 2002. His response was to throw it out and start over again because he's insane. He teaches English at a university in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, and publishes the free weekly newsletter WHO MOVED MY RICE?


"How You Can Find Freelance Editing Jobs"

Written by Niall Cinneide


Continued from page 1

From this point, you can tailor your search for freelance editing work towardsrepparttar companies that serve your needs. You will need to know where to find them. Let us say you are dealing with internet based companies that you wish to find vacancies with. Your best bet would be to look for websites advertising for these jobs. Message boards or sites that deal directly withrepparttar 147855 field that you are working with can be an outstanding way to getrepparttar 147856 clients and employment you are looking for. These jobs are out there, it is a matter of knowing what you need, who has it, and where to find them.

Visit http://www.FreelanceWritingResource.com for more Articles, Resources, News and Views about Freelance Editing Opportunities. Copyright 2005 FreelanceWritingResource.com. All rights reserved. This article may be reprinted in full so long as the resource box and live links are included intact.


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