Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Elusive Comma (Part 7 of 7)

(This post comes from Susan Titus Osborn.)

Look at places where you may omit the comma. A good rule is to let your ear be the guide. Read your sentences aloud. You'll naturally pause in those places that need a comma.

In a series whose elements are joined by conjunctions, you don't need a comma unless the elements are long and pauses are helpful.

* Is it by Beethoven or Brahms or Bach?

Of course it would not be wrong to say: Is it by Beethoven, Brahms, or Bach?

When elements in a series involve internal punctuation, or when they are long and complex, separate them by semicolons.

* The brown, fuzzy-wuzzy bear; the black and white panda bear; and the snowy-white, fat polar bear were all friends.

When an ampersand (&) is used instead of and as in company names, omit the serial comma.

Example: Dooey, Soakum & Howe.

Susan Titus Osborn is the director of the Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service. She has authored 30 books. You can reach her at susanosb@aol.com, http://www.Christiancommunicator.com/.

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