When I got my last manuscript back from the proofreader the first thing I noticed was how many commas she had eliminated. Since then I have gone back and re-read my work, eliminating every comma I didn’t think was absolutely necessary and there have been a lot. A LOT. I also noticed that I make indiscriminate use of semicolons. I love semicolons; I think they are baffling and mysterious and I use them like design elements, which means that I almost never use them correctly. But they are so pretty! Even though Lynne Truss, author of the punctuation primer Eats, Shoots & Leaves, seems to think there is no incorrect use of a semi-colon; I am not so certain.
Here’s something else Truss says: “To those who care about punctuation, a sentence such as “Thank God its Friday” (without the apostrophe) rouses feelings not only of despair but of violence.” Ouchie. I know someone like that. Honest I do. She’d red-mark my emails given half the chance. I cringe to think what her face looks like when she reads my blog posts. I am no grammarian. That’s what proofreaders are for. And comma monkeys* like me are very happy to have them.
* The term “comma monkey” was coined by me, Tracey Baptiste, and should always be credited to me, Tracey Baptiste, in any and all written works or I will come and find you and stick semi-colons all over everything you own.