Home > miscellaneous > The Commas And Stuff

The Commas And Stuff


After watching an interesting documentary on J. D. Salinger, I decided to re-read his monstrously famous book,The Catcher In The Rye“. Stunningly, I couldn’t find any store online that sold an e-version of the book. I ended up having to buy the dead-trees version.

In an early part of the book, protagonist Holden Caulfield’s roommate, Stradlater, begs Holden to write an English composition for him:

How ’bout writing a composition for me, in English? Just don’t do it too good, is all. That sonuvabitch Hartzell thinks you’re a hot-shot in English, and he knows your my roommate. So I mean don’t stick all the commas and stuff in the right place.

Stradlater was always doing that. He wanted you to think that the only reason he was lousy at writing compositions was because he stuck all the commas in the wrong place.

I laughed my ass off when I read that passage. Ya see, I’ve been blawging for over four years now, and deciding where to place commas in the text has always been a real pain in my keester. I’m constantly finding myself being yanked out of the continuous flow of words and pausing to ask “should I put a freakin’ comma here?“. In addition, when I iterate over a post just prior to queuing it up for publication, I’m always adding, removing, and/or moving commas around. I’d estimate that 20% of my writing time is spent obsessing over comma placement. LOL!

ESL

I think that my “comma dilemma” is why I enjoy composing the dorky clipart pix for a blog post much more than concocting the comma-laced text. I find the construction, placement, movement, and connection of images on the e-canvas a more fluid and less disruptive experience.

Another text-based conundrum that I’m constantly bumping into is the annoying decision process associated with the use of the word “that“. But that, is for a future post.

commas

  1. January 26, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    I don’t mind the comma so much – it is dashes and hyphens that get me unstuck. There is an en dash and an em dash and double em dash or double em dash! There are times when there should be spaces and sometimes not. :-(. I am determined to master them at some stage 🙂

    • January 27, 2014 at 4:26 am

      D’oh! I didn’t even know there were all those different kinds of dashes. I don’t fret too much over prim and proper grammar, but somehow commas get to me.

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