Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Writing Wednesday: Comma catastrophes

There are a lot of comma rules to remember, and I can cover a few more of them in another post. But here's the biggest one to keep in mind (and one that has been driving me nuts at work lately): Always set off a person's name with a comma.

The T-shirt above shows a funny example of how sentence meanings change when you leave out a comma. Obviously, people will usually understand what you're saying without the comma -- but why leave it to chance? Also, statistics show that people who use commas correctly seem 95 percent smarter on Facebook. :)

Here are some examples of setting off names with a comma:

  • Thanks for the birthday gift, Lindsay!
  • Hi, John!
  • Charlie, did you eat dinner yet?
  • My husband, Andrew, is great at fixing cars. (Note: Without the comma, you suggest that you're a bigamist.)

One caveat: Be careful when using a comma to set off the word friend because you can inadvertently suggest that you only have one friend -- and who only has one friend? No one. So, the phrase My friend Kristen has a hedgehog is actually correct since I have multiple friends (or at least I hope I do).

Do you have any comma questions? I'd love to hear them! Also, I am obviously a big grammar nerd because I still think the T-shirt above is so funny.


  1. I never knew about not using a comma to set off a friend's name. Very interesting.

  2. Thanks for the tip! I definitely need grammatical help! :)

  3. love this post, I'm a bit of a grammar police myself :)

    new follower!


Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts! I love reading them.