08 February, 2012


Writers' Wednesday!!!

I don't like to harp on pet peeves.  But, certain ones warrant discussion.  For now, I have to bring the vocative smackdown.

Out of all the comma use rules, separating the vocative case from the rest of the sentence might be the simplest.

Use a comma before and after the name or descriptive phrase of the person(s) or thing(s) you are addressing.

For example, the following sentences mean different things:

  • Where is that pencil neck?  Where is that pencil, neck?  Where is that, pencil neck?
  • I don't know how to explain John Carter.  I don't know how to explain John, Carter.  I don't know how to explain, John Carter.
People tend to drop punctuation in texts, chat, status updates, and tweets out of haste, laziness, apathy, or ignorance.  But, pretty please, with sprinkles on this half, dedicate one or two of your allotted characters to commas that will tell everyone when you are talking to someone/thing or about someone/thing.

Failure to obey the vocative case rules, my fellow writers, will result in slugs parading up your nostrils for the entire duration of a jazz cover of "Crazy Train."  'Cause they kinda remind me of slugs.  Commas do.

No comments: