Go Back   Motorcycle Forum > Other > Motorcycle.Com Lounge

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 12-02-2010, 08:55 AM   #1
mscuddy
MODERATOR X

 
mscuddy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Next to my still checkin the temp.
Posts: 5,448
Default The Comma

As a SUPER MODERATOR I've noticed the general lack, or misuse of the comma in posts from users of the forums here on Motorcycle.com. Here's a little primer on the proper use of the comma. You can thank me later.

The comma ( , ) is a punctuation mark. It has the same shape as an apostrophe or single closing quotation mark in many typefaces, but it differs from them in being placed on the baseline of the text. Some typefaces render it as a small line, slightly curved or straight, or with the appearance of a small filled-in number 9.
The comma is used in many contexts and languages, principally for separating things. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word comma comes directly from the Greek komma (κόμμα), which means something cut off or a short clause.
Contents

[hide]

In the 3rd century BC, Aristophanes of Byzantium invented a system of single dots (distinctiones) that separated verses (colometry) and indicated the amount of breath needed to complete each fragment of text when reading aloud (not to comply with rules of grammar, which were not applied to punctuation marks until much later). The different lengths were signified by a dot at the bottom, middle, or top of the line. For a short passage (a komma), a media distinctio dot was placed mid-level ( · ). This is the origin of the concept of a comma, though the name came to be used for the mark itself instead of the clause it separated.
The mark used today is descended from a diagonal slash, or virgula suspensiva ( / ), used from the 13th to 17th centuries to represent a pause, notably by Aldus Manutius.[1][2][3]
[edit] Uses

The comma may be used to perform a number of functions in English writing. It is used in generally similar ways in other languages, particularly European ones, although the rules on comma usage – and their rigidity – vary from language to language.
[edit] In lists

Commas are used to separate items in lists, as in They own a cat, a dog, two rabbits and six mice. In English, a comma may or may not be used before the final conjunction (and, or, nor) in a list of more than two elements. A comma used in such a position is called a serial comma or an Oxford or Harvard comma (after the Oxford University Press and Harvard University Press, both prominent advocates of this style). In some cases, use or omission of such a comma may serve to avoid ambiguity:
Use of serial comma disambiguating:
  • I spoke to the boys, Sam and Tom. – could be either the boys and Sam and Tom or the boys, who are Sam and Tom (I spoke to two people).
  • I spoke to the boys, Sam, and Tom. – must be the boys and Sam and Tom.
Omission of serial comma disambiguating:
  • I thank my mother, Anne Smith and Thomas. – The writer is thanking three people: the writer's mother and Anne Smith (who is not the writer's mother) and Thomas.
  • I thank my mother, Anne Smith, and Thomas. – Could be either my mother and Anne Smith and Thomas or Thomas and my mother, who is Anne Smith.
If the individual items of a list are long, complex, affixed with description or themselves contain commas, semicolons may be preferred as separators, and sometimes the list may be introduced with a colon.
[edit] Separation of clauses

Commas are often used to separate clauses. In English, a comma is generally used to separate a dependent clause from the independent clause if the dependent clause comes first: After I brushed the cat, I lint-rollered my clothes. (Compare I lint-rollered my clothes after I brushed the cat.) A relative clause takes commas if it is non-restrictive, as in I cut down all the trees, which were over six feet tall. (Without the comma, this would imply that only some of the trees – those over six feet tall – were cut down. Some consider the word "that" to be preferable when such a meaning is desired: "I cut down all the trees that were over six feet tall.").
Two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) or having a complementary relationship[4] may or may not be separated by commas, depending on preferred style, or sometimes a desire to overcome ambiguity. While many style guides call for commas, many authors omit them, particularly with short sentences.[5] In Canada, the Editing Canadian English [5.7], the comma should be used between independent clauses introduced by conjunctions—such as and, but, or, not, for, yet—except in very short sentences. However, Canadian magazines and newspapers often omit this comma if there is no ambiguity of meaning.
In some languages, such as German and Polish, stricter rules apply on comma usage between clauses, with dependent clauses always being set off with commas, and commas being generally proscribed before certain coordinating conjunctions.
The joining of two independent sentences with a comma and no conjunction (as in "It is nearly half past five, we cannot reach town before dark.") is known as a comma splice and is often considered an error in English. A comma splice should not be confused, though, with asyndeton, a literary device used for a specific effect in which coordinating conjunctions are purposely omitted.
[edit] Certain adverbs

Commas are always used to set off certain adverbs: however, in fact, therefore, nevertheless, moreover, furthermore, still, instead, too (meaning 'also').
  • Therefore, a comma would be appropriate in this sentence.
If these adverbs appear in the middle of a sentence, they are enclosed in commas.
  • In this sentence, furthermore, commas would also be called for.
Using commas to offset certain adverbs is optional: then, so, yet.
  • So, that's it for this rule.
  • So that's it for this rule.
__________________
A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.
mscuddy is offline   Reply With Quote

Sponsored Links Remove Advertisements
Motorcycle Forum
Advertisement
Old 12-02-2010, 09:08 AM   #2
acecycleins
Founding Member
 
acecycleins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: North Georgia
Posts: 4,129
Default

Just because you got that groovey title doesn't mean you are the corporate Language Arts teacher there to correct syntax or verbage does it?
__________________
"Slack" - a state of being in which everything flows smoothly.....a frame of mind so at ease that the universe naturally cooperates.
acecycleins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2010, 09:21 AM   #3
mscuddy
MODERATOR X

 
mscuddy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Next to my still checkin the temp.
Posts: 5,448
Default

Yes it does, so WATCH IT BUB!
__________________
A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.
mscuddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2010, 09:54 AM   #4
Morbo the Destroyer
Registered Member
 
Morbo the Destroyer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,307
Default

Matt, I think is a great segue to opening a discussion on when to use the comma, and when to use a semi-colon. I think there's far too many people using commas; they simply don't seem to understand the basics of good grammer.
Morbo the Destroyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2010, 12:35 PM   #5
pplassm
Founding Member
 
pplassm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 3,875
Default

There is no place that a semicolon cannot be replaced by a period.
__________________
Mongo just pawn in game of life.
pplassm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2010, 02:38 PM   #6
Morbo the Destroyer
Registered Member
 
Morbo the Destroyer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,307
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by pplassm View Post
There is no place that a semicolon cannot be replaced by a period.
If only a "period" could be replaced by a semi-colon. Life would be so much easier.
Morbo the Destroyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2010, 09:01 PM   #7
Dr_Sprocket
Founding Member
 
Dr_Sprocket's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Delmarva Peninsula
Posts: 2,331
Default

Speaking of colons, I am getting mine looked at later this month. However, I doubt I'd post up any pictures from the examination.

__________________
"Aid to the helpless indigent is civilized. Aid to the irresponsible is socially corrosive." ----- Schizuki (c. 2011)
Dr_Sprocket is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2010, 09:36 PM   #8
The_AirHawk
Founding Member
 
The_AirHawk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Leanin' Tower O' P-P-P-P-POWAAAAAAAAA!!!!
Posts: 11,491
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Sprocket View Post
Speaking of colons, I am getting mine looked at later this month. However, I doubt I'd post up any pictures from the examination.

Proctoscope: a 3' section of cold, steel pipe designed to make a man jump straight-up in the air.......
__________________
Parfois, on fait pas semblant
Sometimes, it's not pretend
Oderint Dum Metuant
Let them hate so long as they fear
политики предпочитают безоружных крестьян
Politicians Prefer Unarmed Peasants
Nothing to see here, Citizen. Move along now...
The_AirHawk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2010, 07:02 AM   #9
Morbo the Destroyer
Registered Member
 
Morbo the Destroyer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,307
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Sprocket View Post
Speaking of colons, I am getting mine looked at later this month. However, I doubt I'd post up any pictures from the examination.

When I got mine, a couple guys at work were raving about the awesome drugs they got for the procedure, no big deal, yada yada. I go in, they put me under, and then I came to on the table with a nurse and the Dr. jamming a pipe up my wazzoo so hard I was sliding off the table. It was horrifying. Next thing I know, I'm waking up in the recovery room. I was furious

I called the Dr. a few times to ***** but he never called back. So I wrote a detailed letter explaining my displeasure, and suggested that he could talk to me or an attorney. He wrote back and explained that "it's not unusual for patients to wake up during the procedure, but it is unusual for them to remember it." Apparently I got the one Dr. who uses Roofies instead of something good.

Have fun!
Morbo the Destroyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2010, 07:49 AM   #10
schizuki
Founding Member
 
schizuki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 5,030
Default

Blow, me, you, pedantic, loser.

(Just kidding. Don't get me started on it's vs its, loose vs lose, ultimate vs penultimate, and most teeth-gnashing of all, the use of "literally" to mean figuratively.)
__________________
Reverēre meam auctōritātem

Bill Clinton and Chuck Schumer are praising the Supreme Court for overturning an anti-gay-marriage law that they both signed.
schizuki is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off