1. Immy
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    Immy Member

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    Too many commas!

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Immy, Jan 5, 2012.

    I've just entered the short story competition on the forum, and re-reading it I realized that I use far too many commas. I think the reason for this is because I write the words as I'm thinking. Is this a bad thing, or can it be considered as a kind of writing style?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's a bad thing if they're in the wrong places... can be ok if not way too many and they're where commas are allowed to be...
     
  3. Immy
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    Immy Member

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    I put them in where I pause in my head. Thankfully, not randomly :)
     
  4. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    I know what you mean, in my first draft there are always far too many commas. If it's the way you write, don't worry about it until you come to editing, then think about how they're affecting the flow of the text. It depends on the effect you're trying to create, the speed and such, but often it will sound fine either with or without a comma.
     
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  5. Anarchist_Apple84
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    Anarchist_Apple84 Senior Member

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    CH878 has hit the nail on the head. In some scenes multiple commas will be acceptable, because you'll want a fast pace. When I first knock out a load of text I don't worry about silly things like proper punctuation! lol. My first aim is to get all my ideas down, you'll be surprised how creative you can be when you're "on a roll."

    There's plenty of time to nitpick later and apply proper grammar. I tend to use a lot of smaller sentences now, it seems neater somehow. When I was younger I'd have stupidly long Lovecraftian sentences, we're talking 6-8 commas. I could never go back.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I treat commas as speed bumps. I only use them when they're absolutely necessary for the sense of the sentence. Otherwise, I prefer longer breaks between pauses.
     
  7. LTC
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    Generally the only instance in writing where I've seen an acceptable overuse of commas for that purpose is during dialogue between characters. Otherwise, you will need to follow grammatical rules.
     
  8. forgotmypen
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    forgotmypen Member

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    I wouldn't worry about it on your first draft. Just write, and write consistently.

    On your second draft, I would revise for unnecessary comma's, and other possible grammar problems.
     
  9. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are clear rules about when to use commas (with very slight differences for a US or British publisher). Rely on them, not on 'where you pause.' Commas are not supposed to be breaths, or speed bumps. If your English has a lot of regional or class idiosyncrasies, it could (not always--I generalise) be annoying for readers if, highlighted by your odd punctuation, these come over so strongly it makes some of your writing hard to follow.
    @above poster--please can you research apostrophe vs plurals?
     
  10. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    i think it's okay, as long as it's not the final draft. in the end you should have one idea per sentence. it's easier to read. unless you want to go for that ''pull out a dictionary every sentence'' type of book. i personally hate these.
     
  11. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Sometimes, when I'm being silly, I find it fun to write random run on sentences, each with long lists of items, or thought processes, or activities and such.
     
  12. Ink Heart
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    Ink Heart New Member

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    On a first draft, too much commas are acceptable.. I guess. But when proofreading, I'd suggest reading it and check that if those commas added help in the overall flow of the story. Does it make it, or does it do the opposite. And well, like what Madhoca said there are kinda rules on using commas.
     

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