Saturday, May 06, 2006


The Comma Canine, Calvin, the excavator of innocent sod, the moon-scaper, the Distributor of Dirt, is on the left.

Cleo, on the right, is about four times his size. She has been known to bury balls and frisbees, but she does not make Great Honking Holes in the middle of the lawn.

Thank you, PR Newland for the great word - which I stole.

Commatatus continues:

4. The comma is used to separate expressions in a series. When a conjunction is used between the last two items only, it is correct to place a comma before the conjunction or to omit the comma.
Ex: Verdun, Jutland Reef, the Somme, and the Marne were four important battles of the World War.
(a) When all the conjunctions are used, no comma is required unless it makes the sentence clearer.
Ex: He is brave and courteous and kind.
(b) In the word group two little hens, no comma is used. Little modifies hens, but two modifies little hens.Likewise in puny right hand, right modifies hand, and puny modifies right hand.
(c) Expressions like an honest, ambitious man and a ferocious, straggling moustache require the comma. If inserting and between the adjectives does not change the sense, the comma is needed: an honest and ambitious man; a ferocious and straggling moustache.

5. In an address or date each item after the first is set off by commas.
Ex: On Congress Street, Portland, Maine, stands the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
On November 11, 1918, an armistice was signed.

6. The comma is used to set off a contrasting expression introduced by not.
Ex: Francis Scott Key is famous, not as a lawyer, but as the author of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

7. Use a comma after yes or no at the beginning of a sentence.
Ex: Yes, you're right.

8. The comma is used after the salutation of a friendly letter and the complimentary close of any letter.
Ex: Dear Isabel,
Yours truly,

9. Occasionally, when no other rule justifies the use of a punctuation mark, a comma is necessary to prevent misreading.
Ex: Ever since, Carter House has been deserted.
The night before, we bought a tent.
(I would just re-write the sentence and avoid the comma altogether, but you get the drift.)
To the elderly, youth is wasted on the young.

10. As a rule, the comma is used between the principal parts of a compound sentence, if they are joined by a conjunction - and, but, or, nor, so, yet, while (meaning but). In a short sentence the comma may be omitted.
Ex: Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.
Man was made to be active, and he is never so happy as when he is raising hell.
His country called and he went.
Note: Either the comma or the semicolon may be used when so, yet or then connects the principal clauses.

-to be continued.


Erik Ivan James said...

Calvin's tail looks kinda like a question mark. Cleo's looks like a dash. Beautiful dogs. Ages?

Bernita said...

Calvin's tail could also represent a comma,I suppose, Erik.
Not sure, Calvin is about 2-3; Cleo is 6-8.

kmfrontain said...

Ah, it's nice to have all that comma-itis cure in one place. Can I hope you will be curing overuse of the semi-colon tomorrow? ::nudge, nudge, nudge::

Robyn said...

Gorgeous dogs!

The sad thing is I've actually seen a ferocious, struggling mustache.

Bernita said...

Heh, KM, more comma coma to come. Semicolon rules are only three.

I had to check carefully, Robyn, to make sure I hadn't made a typo there.
Your version is much more vivid.

joeharolds1278958811 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Your dogs are beautiful! the above post a joke, a spammer, or an instructional use of commas....LOL

Oh, no....I'm anonymous again!

Bonnie Calhoun...Damn Blogger!

PRNewland said...


feel free. I think I came up with that on the spot the other day, I really can't remember seeing it anywhere. :P

Commacide I've seen somewhere before in the blogosphere, not sure where.

Nice looking dogs, and yard/garden area. Shame they don't mix well.

Thanks for the commetiquette lesson ...I still can't find my Strunk & White, and I've given up looking for now. :\

kmfrontain said...

Funny about the semi-colon only having three rules, because I see manuscripts getting murdered by them all the time. ;-)

Bernita said...

Clearly a spammer, Bonnie.

Thank you,PR, doubt if Shrunk and White will vary much from these regarding commas, but it is valuable for other stuff as well.

My old book describes a semicolon as a strong comma or a weak period,KM.

Dennie McDonald said...

the pooches are too cute - my brain is so weary from this weekend so I will read the post in details later!

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