Commas are our friends

Posted by ESC on March 23, 2000

In Reply to: Comma are our friends posted by Bob on March 23, 2000

: : : It seem to me that someone posted a sentence here that illustrates how a misplaced comma can completely change the meaning of a sentence. Could I have a rerun of that post? I couldn't find it by searching the archives.

: : : I've been asked to help teach a class of insurance actuaries how to write well-organized and clearly written reports. Any examples of garbled bureaucratic writing, use of jargon, common mistakes, etc., or recommendations regarding good reference books would be appreciated. My subject title, by the way, is the title of such a book.

: : One example I remember vividly from a 4th grade filmstrip was "Let's eat, Grandma!" As a 9-year-old, I found the omission of the comma hilarious.

: Forgot to mention: as a former writing teacher (duing the last ice age) and as a working writer, I can testify that if they read and follow Elements of Style slavishly, particularly chapter 5, they will having a fighting chance of reaching clarity. There is no better text, IMHO.

Thanks for the sentence. That's a good one. I have Elements of Style on my bookshelf. I was looking at the date of publication of my copy -- 1970. That tells my age.