TABLE OF CONTENTS
a) Well John I don't know about that. [commas around ,John, but why?]
b) No I don't think so. Uh how about you? [comma after No, and after Uh, ]
c) I love you too. [comma after you, too, John, ok?]
d) a lot/alot all right/alright [use Standard English, why not?]
e) affect/effect [Let's invent one: offect]
f) lie/lay [Bring your chicken for this one.]
g) its/it's [ its' doesn't even exist!]
h) hypen/dash [Don't use a
phen for a dash--it causes a misread.]
semicolon [One of the sexier pieces of punctuation;
learn this and look g o o d . ]
dialogue ["Yeah, well," he mused. "What the hell.
I might as well get it right as wrong."
k) possessives [Hey, she's too possessive. All she needs
to do is add ' s. It's all anybody needs to do.]
[There are only three kinds, and you're
already an expert at the most stylish one
of them--the sentence fragment.]
m) [ t b a ]
n) ipcvv, [Okay, one rule: can solve 3/4's of your
comma mistakes. Requires background.]
b 0 g u s rules [Some rules are BS. Here are the main
ones, like split infinitives and such.]
p) "Notes on Punctuation" [A lovely little essay by Lewis Thomas.]
q) the secret of commas [One rule, for all commas: can you handle it?]
gruels, cruels, ghouls [What's the point of 'em? They so contra-
dictory, why even bother?]
clauses, [When is a clause parenthetical, and so set
also called restrictive and non-restrictive off with commas? And when is it
essential to the rest of the sentence--no commas.]
t) this and which as pronouns referring back to a whole idea. Which is terribly vague.
[You see the problem: what's terribly vague,
the idea or the act of referring back to it?
This makes everything terribly unclear.
Which does? This does!] (So does which.) What?
(What's on second?)
u) He suppose he was prejudice. [Nope. Those verb forms have d's
Ear training. they're both past tense forms: he supposed
he was prejudiced, not realizing he was
udderly vachist. There are lots of these.]
v) Thanks to Jennifer and I...
[The problem here is called "case."]
Me and her haven't been together for a month.
He asked who we were talking about.
[The I and the Me and the her and the who
are all in the wrong case.
Aw, don' make such a federal case out of it. She
an' me, we goes way back to who was whom when,
you know, when she was whomever she wanted to be
and us was nobody. Hey, Tony, you got problem wit dat?
the secret of commas
You really want to master the comma? If you could learn one principle, that would solve 93% of your comma mistakes, would you do it? If so, click on the goofy guy's nose above, and if that don't work, figure it out. (It's a secret, after all.)