Stylistic Comma Use

Very good points about commas!!

The Editing Hart

EHLM Commas

Commas. Oh, commas. I feel confident saying that commas are the hardest and most complicated of the grammatical constructions in the English language (and most others you could name). This has led to a theory (frequently taught to children to keep them from having to learn in school) that commas are largely optional. You can use them here, you can use them there, you can just do whatever with them, and when you see them in a sentence they can be safely ignored unless you’re reading it out loud and need to know when to pause. That is to say, commas are largely for playwrights.

This is wrong.

However, it is also illuminative. The English system of comma usage is complex enough that most simply do not learn it. Indeed, I know more than one editor and many a writer who has declined to learn it, instead simply getting the…

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