Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Don't Just Stick It Everywhere

I read somewhere that sometimes Matthew McConaughey gets so sexually aroused from food he has to stop eating. And, did you know that when Britney Spears checks into a hotel she uses the name Allota Warmheart? Somehow, these discoveries don't surprise me. However, sometimes I learn something about a person that seems totally out of character.

For example, the other morning my husband and I ran into a friend of ours. He’s a really nice guy, married, has a two-year old daughter he adores, and seems kind of shy. Now, I don’t know how we got on the subject, but I learned that back in his bachelor days he never left the bar alone. Here's the secret, Gentlemen: apparently, if you proposition over twenty women in one night, someone will go home with you. I just never took this shy family man for the Leon Phelps type:


But, when I thought about it, I realized that many of us take this same quantity over quality approach, especially with commas, especially before the word and. We stick a comma before every and we write and figure that eventually one will be correct.

We already talked about the optional comma before and: the one that goes (if you want it to) between the second to last item in a series and the and. In the following example, it's the comma between creamy and and.

Mmmm! This burrito is so spicy, warm, creamy, and tender.


But, not all commas before and are optional: some are required while some are forbidden. That's right- forbidden.

A comma is required before and if it joins two complete sentences. For example,

All you need is a bottle of courvoisier, and it really helps if you don't have any standards.

Let's break it down:

All you need is a bottle of courvoisier = complete sentence

It really helps if you don't have any standards = complete sentence

So, in other words, if you have a complete sentence on both sides of and, you must put a comma.

However, a comma before and is forbidden if it does not join two complete sentences. For example,

All you need is a bottle of courvoisier and no standards.

So, let's break this one down:

All you need is a bottle of courvoisier = complete sentence

No standards= not complete sentence

If you don't have a complete sentence on both sides of and, then no comma for you!







5 comments:

tina said...

The first picture in this post is hilarious! It fits perfectly! On a heavier note, today I was correcting an essay of a friend, and he put at least three commas in every sentence; I wanted to scream! I tried to explain to him when to use commas but he didn't understand. I showed him your post and I really think it got through to him. Thank you so much! I hope everyone will follow your advice and actually put commas where they belong.

jbaranick said...

Thanks, Tina. How are you, by the way? I miss you.

joselopezyoo said...

"Everytime i think of a dog, i picture a four legged creature."

Is this correct?

Missed Periods said...

Joselopezyoo,

The comma is in the correct place, but you need to capitalize I. Also, every time is two words. Also, I would stick a hyphen in four-legged.

Bscatty15 said...

This will help me on my test today. Thanks!