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August 23, 2017


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Jean Rabe

spot on

Michael A. Black

Excellent commentary on how punctuation (nd the rules of grammar) change over time. I'm still old school, too, and don't like the current trends. Give me my occasional semicolon and adverb. And as for dropping that third comma in a series, I always like to bring up the possibilities with the following sentence: Please join us at the company picnic where there will be plenty of food, beer and games for the children.


Count me as old school as well, Carole. :-)
I do try to keep my eye on the length of sentences. (I shoulda been a 19th century writer! One sentence can sometimes go on for a paragraph!) I love semicolons. And dashes. And ellipses. I always have to go back and do a "scrub" when done with the first draft.

Margaret Lucke

Funny, I've made the opposite observation about hyphens. They seem to be disappearing. Many writers aren't sure how to use them so they skip them altogether. My rough rule of thumb is that when two words form a compound adjective in front of a noun, they get a hyphen between them: toll-free call, long-range plan, etc. Based on the Chicago Manual of Style.


I've completely given up trying to figure out these new comma rules. As you say, each editor seems to be different, so I put commas where I think they belong, but if a copy editor adds or deletes some, I just go along with their changes. As long as the reader still understands what I'm trying to say, I'm not going to worry about it.

Mar Preston

Good observations. And what if you try to adhere strictly to one style manual or another? I've got the 14th Chicago Manual of Style.

How out of date am I?

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