What are the rules for dependent clauses and commas when the dependent clause comes before, in the middle of, or after the independent clause.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to think up an enticing blog post title when your topic is sentence clauses? That’s about as unsexy a thing as can be discussed. My other options were Full Frontal Commas and When Punctuation Marks Hook Up, but I ultimately decided “sentences clauses” and “comma” both belonged because the union of those two language elements is what we’re talking about today.
I’m willing to bet that when writers express worry about their punctuation skills, their chief grief is commas. Like, when to use one and where to put it (by the way, if you block out the rest of this post, you have to admit what I just wrote could be sexy). Today I shall discuss one aspect of comma…
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I love funny grammar videos. This one also features sharp-witted puppets and Kelsey Grammer, so it’s like I’ve tripled my pleasure.
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In between my search for my next favorite novel, I’ve caught up on some fan fiction. There are many gifted yarn spinners out there in the Fandom, yet I’ve struggled with just about every fic I’ve read lately.
Why? Grammar — primarily the misuse of words.
I’ve always been a bit of a word nerd, and nothing cools my jets faster than someone throwing words around all willy-nilly. Just because two words look and sound similar does not make them interchangeable.
[*raises hand*I’m Daph, and I can’t make my fingers put a Y in flier when I know I’m supposed to.
*Side-eyes self* A pamphlet and an aviator are very different things.
*hangs head in shame* I know.]
I can overlook some errors in favor of the story, but it has to be one helluva story. When I read and come across a misused word, I feel like the writer is saying, “You know what I meant.” No, boo-boo, we ain’t playing Guesstures.
I’ll be the first to admit: I’m a major fic snob, and I’m unapologetic about it. If a writer expects readers to spend their valuable time with their creations, then they should give us readers their best words. Right? However, as with the prevalent misuse of “literally” has shown, we have no idea what some of those words mean.
I suppose my issue isn’t so much with the writer, it’s the dissolution of rules…and dare I say: standards. I read an article the other day which said, “…dictionaries do not show how words should be used, but how they are commonly used… .”
This is unsettling to me, like an “everybody’s doing it” mentality. Language has gotten so lazy — I blame Instant Messaging and texting. I’m no fool. I know language changes over time, but it’s important for writers to stay true to themselves. Write well. Write simply. Write your truth.
I think Stephen King said it best in his memoir On Writing, “One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you may be a little ashamed of your shorter ones. This is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes. The pet is embarrassed and the person who committed this act of premeditated cuteness should be even more embarrassed.”
To paraphrase: Trying to sound smart makes you look stupid.
Your stone throwing may commence. *puts up telekinetic shield*
I’ve seen this book quoted like the Bible. Being Stephen King’s thoughts on his writing journey, and considering myself a lifelong fan, I had to add this to my library. However, over the year-something I’ve owned this book, I’ve never read it cover-to-cover. And I call myself a fan…
Another confession: I almost never read book Forwards.
I read this one (there are actually three) and wanted to slap myself for contemplating skipping over the wealth of knowledge shared in those few pages. I’ve already learned so much.
I’m only a couple chapters in, but I know this volume will end up looking like a unicorn threw up on it. I’m already marking this bad boy up. Simply the way he describes his childhood has me awestruck: “Mine is a fogged-out landscape from which occasional memories appear like isolated trees … the kind that look as if they might like to grab and eat you.”
I haven’t read much of his recent stuff, but lines like this remind me why I used to live in his books of short stories for days on end, hardly surfacing for sustenance.
Do yourself a favor, get this book.
Despite my paltry word count this week, I did connect with a kick ass beta, and we worked on an existing project of mine. Already, she has my words whipped into shape. I’m in awe of her keen eye and creative problem solving.
One thing she shared was this article that opened my mind to better understand modern grammar rules. Yes, some things have changed since I last took a comp class (back in the stone age). http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/opinionator/2012/05/21/the-most-comma-mistakes/?src=me&ref=general&_r=0