Common writer mistakes #14

#14 — Misusing commas

I’ve done one of these on commas before. I had talked about using commas to continuously add information to a sentence. But I haven’t talked about when to use a comma and when not to.

Commas are complicated. What tends to get overlooked with them though is independent clauses and dependent clauses.

An independent clause can stand on its own. I walked into the house and greeted my dogs.

A dependent clause cannot stand on its own because some information is missing. After I came home from the store.

When joining an independent clause and dependent clause, no comma is needed. But when joining two independent clauses, a comma is needed to separate the two ideas.

Here are some examples:

  • I wanted to help him, but he wasn’t listening to me.
  • She moved closer to me but stopped short.
  • As they cast a spell toward me, I ducked behind a table and hoped that they couldn’t reach me.
  • I wanted a snack after my hour-long class.
  • Going from one side of the house to another sucked, so I moved my kitchen into my bedroom.

A good trick is to see if the subject at the beginning of the sentence has changed or been repeated. If it has, it probably needs a comma.

Most of the time though, ask yourself if either part of the sentence can stand alone by itself. If it can’t, don’t add a comma.

I hope this helps!

DARE TO CONTINUE?
#1 — USING MULTIPLE ADJECTIVES
#2 — VAGUENESS FOR TENSION
#3 — REPEATING WORDS FOR EMPHASIS
#4 — COMMON MISUSED WORDS
#5 — MISUSING HYPHENS

#6 — UNNECESSARY DETAILS
#7 — NOT DEVELOPING CHARACTERS
#8 — THE WORDS “FELT” AND “FEEL”
#9 — OVERUSING CHARACTER NAMES
#10 — ADDING TOO MANY COMMAS

#11 — Different types of dashes
#12 — Not using plain language
#13 — Dialogue tags vs action tags

11 thoughts on “Common writer mistakes #14

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s