Dear Readers, Writers, and Grammar Police Officers,
I have spent the last week poring over my formatted copy of Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets for the second time. (This doesn’t count the 100 times before formatting.) My goal is to catch every error I can so the public doesn’t have to. To my horror, I have found that I am guilty of comma abuse! My mind has been whirling in commas such that I have thought of little else. You might say I am officially in a Comma Coma!
How could those pesky punctuation marks have sneaked in initially and gone undetected for so long??? My excuses are that in my rush to get my thoughts down when composing my story, the rules of commas flew out of my head; and, I’ve been too close to my own work for some time now to see the superfluous little devils. I am no longer capable of doing a “fresh eyes” read.
In my defense as an English major and literacy teacher, I really DO know comma rules:
- Never in restrictive clauses but always in nonrestrictive clauses;
- Between two independent clauses but never before a dependent clause;
- With coordinating adjectives but never with cumulative adjectives;
- Not in essential appositives but always in nonessential appositives.
The list goes on, but I won’t bore you with any more! (That comma after “on” is correctly placed, by the way.) But I will regain consciousness, and my work will be better for my present delirium.
So get a clue, Everyone. Errors happen in writing! Be prepared to read, reread, and reread your work again! (Yes, that’s a beloved Oxford comma after “reread.” It stays.) And don’t be afraid to ask some Fresh Eyes to read your work, too. It just might prevent a Comma Coma.