The Comma Splice

Your teachers point them out all the time, but what actually is a comma splice? Continue reading “The Comma Splice”

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A Comma Rule To Forget

You’ve probably heard it many times:

“Place a comma wherever you naturally pause.”

While it’s true that commas are meant to help readers know where to pause, and that they often go where you would naturally pause, this rule can make for comma-happy writers. Continue reading “A Comma Rule To Forget”

Quick Tip Tuesday—The Dash

The dash is my favorite punctuation mark—it is versatile, visually pleasing, and is a great go-to if you’re ever unsure about which punctuation to use. In fact, it can take the place of colons, parentheses, commas, and semicolons!

  • Colons: I bought three kinds of pasta—Alfredo, linguini, and angel hair.
  • Parentheses: The taste of fresh strawberries—sweet, tangy, and fresh—is far superior to their taste in the off-season.
  • Commas: In her long, wonderful life—she had only one regret.
  • Semicolons: James hated the smell of flowers—they reminded him of lost love, dead hopes, and decay.

Note: Today I’m referring to the “em dash”—this really long dash as opposed to a hyphen or a short en dash (–)

Positively Appositive

Appositives are nouns or noun phrases that rename another noun, and they are usually surrounded by commas. They allow writers to color in the vague outlines of their subjects, giving them depth with shading and detail. Even if you’ve written them before, writing appositives regularly is a great way to train your mind to go deeper with descriptions.

Examples:

“The dog, a husky Labrador, romped outside.”

“We gathered at Henry’s, an eclectic coffee shop where local bands played.”

“Wendy pulled up her hair, a tangled mess after her trek in the rain, and covered it with a hat.”

Let’s Begin with Active Voice

“Donna began to look around.”

“I begin to eat cookies.”

“Garry begins waking up.”

The sentences above are examples of passive voice. Passive voice sneaks into writing when writers don’t use strong verbs. It’s like a limp handshake—half-hearted and awkward. Continue reading “Let’s Begin with Active Voice”

Grammar blogs you should be following

If you write anything (even if you think you don’t write, you do) or say anything, no matter the medium or situation, expressing your point and clearly communicating with your audience is important. Good grammar is an essential tool in doing so; grammar provides the rules that make what we say and write make sense. If you want to be a better reader, writer, speaker, listener, and communicator, here are the grammar blogs you should be following: Continue reading “Grammar blogs you should be following”