Comma, comma, comma (chameleon?)

Writing a novel? Having trouble wrapping your brain around the rules regarding commas? Me too. I second-guess myself all the time. To help with that, I did some research and took some time to really understand the correct use of commas. Having said that, I still second-guess myself.

Nevertheless, here are my results (with some omissions that seemed a no-brainer to me).

Theory credit goes to: Better Grammar in 30 Minutes a Day, by Constance Immel and Florence Sacks.
Interpretation of those rules is all me.

WARNING: Contains adult content.

  1. Use a comma between two main clauses connected by a coordinating connective (and, but, for, or, nor, so and yet). BUT, NOT when the coordinating connective joins the two parts of a compound verb*.
    • Knox kissed her neck, and Lucas fondled her breasts.
    • Knox kissed her neck and fondled her breasts – OR – Knox kissed her neck, fondled her breasts and did something else extremely wicked.
  2. Use a comma after introductory words and phrases. (This is optional, but necessary if the meaning of the sentence would be lost if it were omitted).
    • Exchanging a look with Xavior and Marcus, he found that they had no idea.
    • While riding, the men had difficulty staying awake – VS – While riding the men had difficult staying awake.
    • However, Sienna would gladly ride Greyvian.
  3. Use a comma after a subordinate/dependant clause that appears at the beginning of a sentence, but not when it appears at the end of a sentence. (Subordinate clauses are incomplete sentences that are introduced by a subordinator (because, that, although, when).)
    • When you get into your bedroom, give me a yell – VS, written the other way, with no comma – Give me a yell when you get into your bedroom.
  4. Use commas to separate adjectives before a noun. Use the below tests:
    • Use a comma if and can be used to connect the adjectives.
      • Greyvian was the most erotic and skillful lover…
    • Use a comma if you can reverse the order of the adjectives.
      • Greyvian was the most erotic, skillful lover… OR
        Greyvian was the most skillful, erotic lover…
  5. Use commas on both sides of a word (or group of words) that interrupts the flow of thought in a sentence. BUT, NOT if they don’t interrupt the flow (you don’t say?).
    • Sienna, however, was so aroused that it wouldn’t really have mattered if he had no skill at all – OR – The size of his erection, while a little daunting, promised to be quite a treat.
    • Xavior and Rayven both attended to her and in no time at all she reached orgasm. (She, not being Sienna :) ).
  6. Use commas to set off the names and titles of people spoken to directly.
    • “Knox, come over here and kiss me,” the female purred.
    • “I’m telling you, Knox, she smells fucking amazing.”
  7. Use commas to enclose words, phrases, and clauses containing nonessential material, (if you can ommit those enclosed words and the sentence still makes sense, they’re nonessential), BUT, do NOT enclose if they are essential to the meaning.
    • Blood Merge, a book series by Rebecca Trynes, has been made into a tv series. (I wish.)
    • The book series Blood Merge has been made into a tv series.

 

*Compound verbs are two or more verbs joined by a coordinating connective (and, but, for, or, nor, so and yet).

Verb = doing word.

  • Action Verbs (did, does, or will do): He caught the ball. He catches the ball. He’s going to catch the ball.
  • Linking Verbs: The linking verb used most frequently is some form of the verb be (am, is, are, was, were). Some other linking verbs are seem, grow, look, sound, taste, and appear.

 

Helpful? Or not? If I’ve gotten it horribly wrong, let me know!

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