Blog 2550 – 10.22.2022
The Proper Use Of Commas
It is a skill that I have yet to master, the proper use of commas. I am reminded of an early Nazarene author who started out as a Methodist, Uncle Buddy Robinson. He wrote many popular books on what the Bible and Christianity meant to him. Buddy was a self-educated man with little formal education and he had little use for punctuation. The editors of his books and Christianity magazine articles were always complaining that he did not use enough punctuation in his pieces. One time he typed up a whole page of commas, periods, question marks, semi-colons and such. He typed a short note to the editors at the bottom of the page, “Just put them anywhere you want them.”
I have been trying to make better use of commas. I have for sometime tried to add a comma before every “but” a word I probably use too much. The old preacher use to say, “Goats butt, sheep follow.” Though that may be true we are not sheep and all who profess to be are not good shepherds. Even so-called good shepherds shear the sheep and make tasty meals of them so the shepherd/sheep analogy has some flaws as does much of my writing especially the punctuation.
In addition to over-using some words like “but” I probably get carried away with parenthetical phrases and quotation marks too. I have to admit that I write as I think and that collecting my thoughts can often be like herding cats, hit or miss. Twice in the last couple of days I have heard the expression used comically, “What are the odds of that?” with the answer, “About fifty-fifty.” Hey, but that sounds like the odds of much in life including the chance of foul or fair weather on any given day.
If you find that I have misplaced or completely left out a comma, I hope you will not be distracted by my oversight. I try very hard to get the words right and to make sure to express myself in complete sentences, well most of the time. Always my three-fold aim is to entertain, to enlighten, but most of all to encourage.
Your friend and fellow traveler,
I’m Just An Ole Chunk Of Coal