Re: Comma, comma, coma[,] and Uncle Ralph

Subject: Re: Comma, comma, coma[,] and Uncle Ralph
From: Jack Shaw <jsh -at- SOFTWARE-AG -dot- DE>
Date: Wed, 10 May 1995 12:55:55 MEZ

Yeah, yeah, yeah yeah -- apologies to the late S. Cooke.

While I was perusing this ongoing comma discussion that seems
to never die, Uncle Ralph picked up on the issue and asked me,

"What's the point?"

"Oh, you know--picking nits and like that. Our business
lives from this sort of thing", I replied.

"Reminds me of two old rules yer gran'pa used to spout",
U.R. mused.

"Oh, really?", I leaned back, ready to be immersed in more

U. R. paused, took out his lighter, cranked it up to flame-
thrower setting and fired it down into his old meerschaum
pipe. Then he went on...

"Yep. he (my grandfather) said that anything that brings you
up short when you read it, ain't good writin'."

"You mean...?", but I got no further before U. R. added,

"If yuh have to stop an' reread something, something's
not written right."

I pondered, then replied, "You mean, if in this case the`
extra comma corrupts the flow of ideas or confuses, then
it should be left out...".

U. R. stopped puffing, looked at me quizzically for a
second or two and then shrugged, "I guess that's what I
mean. But take the second rule yer gran'pa used, sort of
a rule of table manners, as it were...".

"What was that?"

"He always used to tell us kids, 'Don' break yer crackers,
bread, biscuits or roll in yer soup'."

"And...?", I blurted out thoughtlessly.

"Jes' try that sentence with a comma after 'biscuits' and
tell me if it says th' same thing...", U. R. replied and
then left for the barn.

* * *

Makes sense to me...

J. Shaw
jsh -at- software_ag -dot- de

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