Although global warming won't worsen if you don't put a comma in the right place, you may be disappointed when your dinner order arrives. If the menu says, "All dinners served with soup, salad or fries," does this mean you get soup and a choice of salad or fries? Or do you get only one of the three options? When you ask the waiter, he seems annoyed by being asked once again by another stupid customer. Yet the confusion could be resolved so easily if only the menu designers knew just a smidgen about grammar and punctuation.
We may say "Can I" when we mean "May I" and still get the desired "Yes" in response, but which one is asking
for permission and which one questions our ability to do something? If I ask a lifeguard at the pool, "Can my
daughter swim?" and the lifeguard says, "Yes," I might let her jump into the pool. The lifeguard might just kick
her out again.
We've all heard the saying, "You are what you eat." Well, we are also what we write, or at least this is how we
are perceived by others. When you see glaring punctuation or grammar errors on a website, do you trust that
business completely with your money? Maybe you shouldn't. I question whether the online business is
legitimate or has adequate capital resources if it can't bother to have at least its home page proofread.
In fact, by paying attention to these details, many people discover scams and spare themselves from identity
theft. Like me, you must have received emails requesting personal information from large companies. But then
you click on the URL given and notice something fishy. The grammatical structure of the sentences is not quite
right, the spelling is sloppy, or the commas and semicolons are misplaced. Fraud! If you don't have basic
English skills under your belt, you may pay a high price. Thieves are counting on our ignorance to bilk us for
the millions of dollars they get from us yearly, all because we don't keep our grammar and punctuation skills
So if you want to get what you ordered at the restaurant, if you want your kids to be able to stay in the pool, if you want to do business with reputable companies, and if you don't want to have your identity stolen online, take a few minutes to refresh your memory about those "silly" punctuation marks. You can try my online quizzes linked below. You may even enjoy yourself.
Felix was a lonely, young boy.
I get headaches in brightly lit rooms.
Brightly is not an adjective because it cannot be used alone with rooms; therefore, no
Use a comma to separate the city from the state and after the state. Some businesses no longer use the
comma after the state.
When starting a sentence with a weak clause, use a comma after it. Conversely, do not use a comma when
the sentence starts with a strong clause followed by a weak clause.
If something or someone is sufficiently identified, the description following it is considered nonessential
and should be surrounded by commas.
Use a comma to separate two strong clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction-and, or, but, for, nor.
You can omit the comma if the clauses are both short.
A comma splice is an error caused by joining two strong clauses with only a comma instead of separating
the clauses with a conjunction, a semicolon, or a period. A comma splice creates what is known as a run-
Capitalize a person's title when it precedes the name. Do not capitalize when the title is acting as a
description following the name.
Capitalize the titles of high-ranking government officials when used with or before their names. Do not
capitalize the civil title if it is used instead of the name.
ExamplesThe president will address Congress.
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