Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Trouble With Commas

If you haven’t noticed yet, my comma usage is just as bad as my spelling. I have a theory about why I’m so bad at using commas. You can’t always hear a comma. I didn’t learn English from reading it, I learned English from hearing it. I have a large speaking vocabulary, and I spell like a third grader. There are a lot of veratious readers in this world who often mispronance words that they have read many times but never heard aloud. I will never be one of those people. Instead I often spend a great deal of time sounding out words that I say on a regular basis. I may have learned to speak English by listening, but people don’t talk with commas. Hence my gaustly punctuation.

People claim that commas indicate a small pause in speech, but they really don’t. When I stick commas in places that need a small pause, I end up putting a comma where I really need a period. Most of the “rules” regarding comma use have nothing to do with sound and are simply ment to provide for easier reading. Reading is never easy for me, with or without proper punctation – so I haven’t figured out where I’m supposed to be putting my commas.

Somehow it has been drilled into my head that I’m supposed to put a comma on both sides of a person’s name, and on both sides of the word however. The place were I struggle with commas is separating clauses in a compound sentance. Apparently I need a comma after an introductory clause, but not before a secondary clause. I don’t know. When I just write, and don’t think about commas and I end up with long runon sentances that people find difficult to read. Perhaps I talk in run on sentances, I don’t really know what my problem is. When I do attempt to properly punctuate my writing, I end up sticking commas where they don’t belong, and omitting them from the places they are needed.

I find commas very confusing. The thing that bothers me the most about commas is that other people seem to understand them. Most people accept my lack of spelling. They might not like it, but they learn to deal. But dyslexia isn’t supposed to be an excuse for bad grammer, just bad spelling. When my punctation is all wrong, people look at me like I’ve grown a third eye or something.

I guess that is the whole point of this post. I just want you to stop staring at my forhead with a bewildered look on your face. I know I don’t understand commas. I want to learn, but the rules are really confusing. And a bell only rings at the end of the sentence in books on tape written for preschoolers. When I listen to classic literature on fast forward, there are no commas. Just a really great story all messed together into a giant run-on sentance.

1 comment:

Ginger said...

Hello Kate

You might be interested to hear about new software that can help you produce a better text.
Ginger Software ( has developed groundbreaking text-correction software that automatically corrects spelling mistakes as well as misused words. The software is currently available as a free download from
The software was designed to support people with learning difficulties and is measured against texts produced by people with dyslexia.
Later on this year, Ginger will release new version that will include grammar support as well as punctuation support.
You are welcome to download the software and write your impressions on this blog.



Ginger Software