The Power of a Comma

12 Jan

When I first saw this headline from the Anniston Star (AL) newspaper on Tuesday, I was struck by the cleverness of it (after, of course, I relished in the Crimson Tide football victory for yet another moment). It made me chuckle and smile. And it showed me the power of a well-placed comma.

It made me think also of this sign I saw floating around the Internet not long ago. And the sentiment is true…correct punctuation and/or grammar is vitally important.

(Are you like me, and notice these sorts of things on a daily basis? Alas. The curse of working with the written word for a living.)

Writing–really good writing, at least–strikes just the right balance. It uses the right word; strikes the right tone; puts the right comma (or semicolon, or exclamation point) in just the proper place to create a mood or meaning that is clever, dramatic, or profound.

As you strive to be the best writer you can be, think about every comma. Consider the importance of every single word. Realize that the small choices in your writing can often add up to the biggest impact.

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