Mr. Editor, can I place my comma here ?

Question. And I want you to really give this fair consideration.  Why are there so many grammar rules?
I know when I speak, I pause. We all do. Now. If I want to write what I speak, I will place a comma where I would be pausing. Right? You with me so far?

I was taught that when I write, I should place a comma where I would naturally be pausing so that the reader of my writing would get the gist of my personality and intention.  Let me give you an example. Below, I’ll write two sentences.

I went to the store and I bought candy and ice cream and cake because those are my favorite things.

I went to the store, and I bought candy, and ice cream, and cake, because those are my favorite things.

The commas in the second sentence are where I would be pausing if I was telling this to you face to face.  BUT the comma before “because” is a no-no, and the reason it’s a no-no is because someone, somewhere, in some point in time said so. Who? Who made up the rules? Some of these grammar rules are so ridiculous that it’s my belief that they were created to separate the college scholars from the middle class. The scholars of yester-year wanted to feel superior and decided to make rules. Those who could follow the rules were considered intelligent, and those who didn’t were deemed “regular”.  

Here’s another question. Tell me why semi-colons and colons were created? I know the grammar books tell us why, but why? Below are examples using colons according to the grammar rules and according to the rules that should be.

My mom gave me a grocery list of: apples; oranges; pears, and milk.

My mom gave me a grocery list of apples, oranges, pears, and milk.

The second example looks fine to me. It sounds fine to me. Why the damn colon and semi colons? Because the grammar books say so. But why? Who gives a $hit about colons and semi colons? Who needs to clarify that there is a list being made and because a list is being made that it HAS to have a colon. Is anyone reading this getting my point? Why all the hard work? Why the all the confusion? What is the purpose? A person reading my way of writing the sentence gets it perfectly. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that a person reading both sentences would feel more connected with my way than the other way and that’s because the majority of humans don’t write professionally. Who gives a rat’s ass if a colon is used or if a comma is placed before the word “because”?

Here’s another crazy rule. Don’t place a comma before the word “that”.  Example below.

There are so many people in the world that it’s just become impossible to count them.

If I were telling you this to your face, and I was trying to relay my concern about over population and it’s affect on the world, my pause would be right after the word “world”, and that’s because I would be trying to express the emphasis on the second half of the sentence.

So if I wrote the sentence with a comma, There are so many people in the world, that it’s just impossible to count them, you’d know that my concern is relayed in the second half of the sentence. But that isn’t the way we’re allowed to write it. Allowed!! Do you get me? We aren’t allowed!! The grammar police say we aren’t allowed, and if we do write like the way I just did, they will ban you to the isle of STUPIDOS where you shant never write aGAINE!


And last, but certainly not least, is one of my favorite rules. Do not place a comma between a sentence that has an independent clause and a dependent clause. HUH????? Example below.

I went to the city and got lost.

A comma after the word “city” is sooo wrong that if you dare to place it there, you shall be whipped and hung out to dry. Why you ask? Because the second half of the above sentence is incomplete. It doesn’t have all the good stuff, like a noun, object, and verb—together. Yeah I know. It’s nuts.

I believe that spelling should be perfect just so we can all understand the meaning of what is being written but if I get going on spelling rules then this blog will be a book and I’m in the middle of trying to get one published well, you know . . .

Are you reading me, sweethearts?

10 Replies to “Mr. Editor, can I place my comma here ?”

  1. hahahahahaha. Val, I LOVE you!!! The semi-colon/colon deal? Who gives a flip? When I was going over my brother’s book and doing some editing it drove me crazy! I had to keep dragging out the rule book to decide. Where the comma before the word “that” is concerned, my teacher would have reprimanded me for even using the word! She would have deemed it an unnecessary word I was “using to lengthen” my paper. lol And to the grammar police….MY ARMS ARE EXTENDED AND MY FINGERS SHAPE A CROSS!! BE GONE!!

    1. Hey Lu, I have to say that following these redundant, nonsensical rules really stifles a writer’s flow. Man, can’t they just let us be? lol

  2. I agree with you about the grammar rules. When I was in college the first 2 times I took English Composition I had to drop the class because I got straight F’s for just exactly what you’re talking about. The 3rd time was the charm. I got straight A’s from a professor who said the English language is a living language which means it’s evolving, which means it’s changing, which means as soon as anyone puts the rules in a book they’re already out of date and some will be wrong. A living language belongs to the people who speak it, not to the professors who study it. Incidentally, this same professaor is the only one who actually taught me some useful tools to use when composing your thoughts for written form.
    Now about the spelling – If I were to say “Two girls crossed the street.”, would I have to stop and tell someone “That’s two as in tee dubya oh, not tee oh oh and not tee oh.” in order for them to understand my meaning? No I don’t. When speaking any word in which there is another word that sounds the same but is spelled differently, I never have to stop and spell the word for the listener to understand my meaning. So, what’s the purpose in having different spellings? It’s redundant, superfluous, and totally unneccessary. On the other hand, I cringe every time someone writes “there” when it’s obvious they meant “their”. But that merely serves to illustrate the utter completeness to which I have been brainwashed since early childhood. Because if I cringe, it’s also proof that I understood the meaning from the context and that I don’t need the spelling to discern the author’s meaning.

    1. hahaha, I love what you said and I agree with you all the way, especially the part about the language evolving. You are so smack on that I like to hug you.

      Thank you for seeing my point. Pheww, glad someone understands.

  3. Grammar rules are messing me up too. I wish I could just write it the way it is in my head, and then hand the story over to a grammar fairy who would be able to put all the right marks in the right places.

    Fun post.

    1. Hey, I hear that. I think the editors should just take a deep breath and relax with some of these rules. Sometimes, placing commas where they shouldn’t be adds excitement. lol

    1. Hi, and thanks for reading this. They don’t teach grammar in school? I fear for our future, and living in a comma free world will be the least of our worries. Good grief. Have you had a conversation with a twenty-year old lately? There are so many “like” and “yo’s” in there sentences who could follow them?

        1. I think you’re right. And forgive my spelling error which I just caught in my previous comment to you.

          There are so many “like” and “yo’s” in there sentences who could follow them?
          correction: . . . in their sentences

          I like to make things right. :0)

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