BlogWednesday 15 Oct 2014

The ‘comma’ has gone on stress leave – bring back the ‘full stop’!

A light-hearted look at the use of commas versus full stops in writing. Are you a comma slave driver or do you put a full stop to things?

In a recent blog a colleague argued persuasively for a stop to ‘apostrophe abuse’, which brought to mind the plight of the overused ‘comma’ and the reluctant ‘full stop’.

The proper use of the full stop has been all but lost in the continuous flow of communication found in texting and social media.

Are you among those who are reluctant to place full stops decisively?

Do you prefer, instead, to write overly long run-on sentences, using commas in place of full stops?

It is a bad habit that has become common practice for many writers.

So much so that the ‘comma’ deserves to go on stress leave – overworked, overused and expected to cover for all the full stops that insecure writers fail to place in their writing.

“It’s not too late to break the habit”

The overuse of commas in long sentences shows the uncertainty of the writer, whereas the appropriate use of full stops allows ideas to be developed with confidence. This is my idea and this is why I have included it… the end. Full stop. Period.

On the other hand, ‘the generous use of commas, represents flow, an outpouring of ideas which is supposed to reflect the writer’s knowledge of the subject, I have read so much, and have so many related ideas, and know so much about this, I don’t know where to stop, so I’ll just keep going, it doesn’t matter if I lose my reader, or the thread of my idea, halfway through, I’ll just keep writing’.

It’s not too late to break the habit.

Be brave.  Make your writing easy to read. Use regular full stops. Your reader will thank you for it.

More importantly, the comma, when used properly, will add emphasis to your argument in the right place.


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