Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Commas are Important -- Writing Tip

Here's my best very basic advice about commas. Put them where you'd pause for breath or effect. There's a world of difference between:
"Shoot John!" and
"Shoot, John!
In one sentence John gets shot, in the other he is instructed to shoot. That can make a big difference to your reader, as well as to John.

If you are unsure about your commas, try making a PDF copy and running it through Adobe Acrobat in "read aloud" format. (Acrobat 7 and above will read it aloud to you.) Then you can hear the places where commas come in. Pick up on unnecessary pauses caused by too many.

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