Let’s Pause to Talk about Commas by Susan R. Hughes


An informative post on the correct way to use commas by Susan R. Hughes

Authors of Main Street

Commas can be sneaky little beasts. They do far more than simply indicate a pause in a sentence, and a writer should never underestimate the importance of using them correctly. Misusing a comma can change the meaning of your sentence and, at the very least, make your otherwise fine writing look sloppy and unprofessional. Although a good editor will clean up a writer’s punctuation, I’ve often seen comma errors crop up in published books, blog posts and blurbs. Here are a few examples of common mistakes.

Restrictive Appositive

I see this error all the time in romance novel blurbs:

INCORRECT: Eminent psychiatrist, Dr. Grady Turner, knew it was wrong to fall in love with a patient.

An appositive is a group of words that identify or explain a noun or pronoun; the appositive is called restrictive if removing it changes the meaning of the sentence. In the example above, “Dr…

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