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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Quick Grammar Fixes to Remember

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.
Mark Twain

Which sentence has the correct comma use?
  1. Let's eat, Grandma.
  2. Lets eat Grandma.

1 is correct. It's a direct address. We're talking to Grandma. If you thought 2 was correct, Grandma is the main course at the dinner table!
  1. I had coffee, oatmeal and juice for breakfast.
  2. I had coffee, oatmeal, and juice for breakfast.
Both are correct and acceptable. 2 is an example of the Oxford comma. Sometimes an Oxford comma is necessary.
  1. We brought ham, cheese, tuna and peanut butter sandwiches to the picnic.
  2. We brought ham, cheese, tuna, and peanut butter sandwiches to the picnic.
2 is correct unless you want a sandwich with both tuna and peanut butter in it. I recommend always using the Oxford comma for clarity.

There are a lot more comma rules. Commas are trick devils and can easily change the meaning of a sentence if they are misplaced. 

Need my Quick Guide to Punctuation? Send an e-mail to pat@phaddock.com with "Quick Guide" in the subject line.

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