Monday, November 7, 2011

In a Com(m)a

Punctuation: Take a Breath, Already!

“I have always liked commas, but I seem to be in a shrinking minority. The comma is in retreat, though it is not yet extinct. . . .

“If all this involved only grammar, I might let it lie. But the comma’s sad fate is, I think, a metaphor for something larger: how we deal with the frantic, can’t-wait-a-minute nature of modern life. The comma is, after all, a small sign that flashes PAUSE. It tells the reader to slow down, think a bit, and then move on. We don’t have time for that. No pauses allowed. In this sense, the comma’s fading popularity is also social commentary.”

—Robert J. Samuelson, columnist,
Farewell, Comma, He Said,”
The Washington Post
, 2007.

• Editorial Comment: Let’s not even talk about my colons.

• Related Favorite: The Oxford comma.

• Reading List: Columbia Journalism Review has published reading suggestions from selected journalists/Jprofs. Can’t say as I agree (or even have heard of!) all of these, but interesting. Better get caught up.

Visit our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café

At Casey’s Barber Shop it’s a beard trim and a haircut, 12 bucks, by Nick Bolinder
Logan City Council hopefuls talk growth, pollution, downtown issues, by Heidi Hansen & Cathy Morgan
Utah Bioneers: We all play important roles in sustaining the Earth, by Allie Jeppson

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