July 29th, 2011
Many businesspeople have to manage distractions as we write for work. Here’s a tip to keep your punctuation correct after an interruption takes you away from your keyboard.
Sometimes, a supplemental thought appears in the middle of a sentence. A second comma must follow the thought if an initial comma sets it off from the rest of the sentence. Here are two examples:
Economic competition, of course, is the only real reason … and, in my opinion, it is not a good enough reason to validate the resulting doubling of effort.
— Christopher Butler, “The case against apps,” Salon.com, July 27, 2011
It’s incorrect to omit that second comma after a supplemental thought. E.g., it would be wrong to type, “Economic competition, of course is the only reason.”
It’s especially easy to forget that second comma if you become distracted while you’re typing this kind of sentence. When you start typing after a distraction, rereading what you’ve typed and applying this rule can keep your sentences crisp and correct.
Write It Well’s e-learning module Just Commas includes self-paced quizzes to help you master punctuation rules, and our book Essential Grammar includes a full chapter on commas. We’ve made all the book’s exercises available as a free download here to accompany the e-book, which is now available on Amazon.com!
Do you have an important document but not enough time to double-check your punctuation or untangle your sentences? Just use Write It Well’s editing services. We’ll make sure your prose is correct, clear, concise, and engaging so your readers will respect your voice and follow all your ideas easily.