Tag: grammar

Jun 30, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Writing Pet Peeves: Comma Confusion

The presence of rules suggests one correct way to punctuate a given sentence. At least, that’s how I was taught. Pity the fool who disagreed with my high school grammar teacher about the correct placement of a comma, semicolon, or colon. Rather than memorizing the complicated rules she tried to teach us, I learned to trust my gut. If in doubt, I go with the pause rule and add a comma when a pause is desired. By graduate school, aside from the occasional missing or extra comma in the reference section, I’d more or less mastered comma usage. Editors for dozens of academic publications of one kind or another agreed, rarely adding or removing commas to anything I’ve written in the last 25 years. Faith in my punctuation instincts …

May 12, 2014
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Pet Writing Peeves: That

Pet Writing Peeves: That

Coming up with ideas for Pet Writing Peeves isn’t a problem. Finding topics that I know enough about to explain, however, is a bit more challenging. “Just because” is hardly sufficient, but that is too often the only explanation that I can offer. Such is the case with my admittedly mild aversion to the word “that.” I took grammar as an elective my senior year in high school. Ms. Stiles — a retired Army sergeant and a truly great teacher — must have schooled us on the rules. My inability to use the appropriate terminology today suggests that maybe I wasn’t paying attention. I’ve come to see “that” in my own writing as a word that is worth scrutinizing. How does …