Monday, July 23, 2007

Comma, Comma, Comma, Comma, Comma Chameleon

I am a comma chameleon. My commas, as well as other punctuation, have to adapt to the particular style of each editor for whom I write. I'm usually pretty good with periods, question marks, quotation marks, and the like.

But commas, boy, they baffle the heck out of me.

And just when I think I have an editor's comma style down pat, it changes. All the commas I thought were needed end up swimming with the fishes. Or my sparsely punctuated pieces get a comma carpet bombing.

And serial commas? You know, the ones that should (or should not) go before the "and" in a series? Fuggedaboudit! Sometimes I just toss a coin.

If you're comma curious, visit this blog written by my good friend and language expert, Martha Barnette.

From what I understand, she has a pretty good handle on the comma sutra.


Anonymous said...

Cute title...especially for those of us who lived through the Boy George era. ;) Found your blog through my sister's (Epicure/Thought for Food) recommendation. Nice to know there are others out there who ponder things like punctuation (when in doubt, I consult my Strunk & White). Martha's blog looks cool...thanks for pointing it out! (I was a linguistic major.)

Liz said...

Thanks for stopping by! Glad to know there are other word nerds out there who appreciate the nuances of punctuation.

And if you liked Martha's blog, check out her radio show "A Way With Words." Go to and click on "Radio."

Martha said...

Why thankee, Liz! (And may I say that this entry gives me headline envy.)

And shadesof, I see where you're in Indiana. Are you anywhere near Indianapolis? We're on WFYI on Saturdays at noon, right after "Car Talk."

Meanwhile, it's easy to get our language-loving show online at this link: