Tuesday, June 09, 2009

On the importance of commas

My mother would often call me to the dinner table with the words “Come and eat Victor.” However, as that sentence stands, it would certainly provide a good reason for me to avoid the dinner table or even call Child Protective Services on my parents. Fortunately, the true implications of the sentence would be brought out by a comma in written language between the words “eat” and “Victor,” suggesting that perhaps fried chicken, and not fried little boy, was on the menu.

6 comments:

legodesi said...

I suppose when verbally communicated, the comma is denoted with a pause, or by a change in intonation of the word; if someone was saying the sentence in consistent pitch, but inserts a slight inflection or higher pitch at "Vic", it would indicate a pause or something.

PersonalFailure said...

Can you please do more of these posts? For example, I think half the internet needs "literally" explained to them.

PhilosophyFan said...

I hate to break it to you, but even with the comma it might "...certainly provide a good reason for me to avoid the dinner table or even call Child Protective Services on my parents."

Sorry for the sick thought, though. I am glad that my English teachers were hard on me regarding grammar. I'll let anyone say what they want about my religious high school being a horrible place for kids. =)

Ilíon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ilíon said...

Other things that half the internet needs explained:

"ad hominem"

"begs the question"

"their/there" and "you're/your" and "its/it's" and "[]s/[]'s"

the impermissibility of "of" when "have" is called for [example: "I could of done it!"]

Ilíon said...

As the mirror image of my last comment, I've just encountered this two-for-one gem: "Its funny the kind've humor that ..."