Thursday, May 01, 2014

The Future of the Comma

Is the comma yesterday’s news? In a recent article in Slate, Matthew J.X. Malady comes up with a resounding “Maybe.”
There’s no denying that commas are helpful little flecks of punctuation. They allow us to separate written clauses and do good work when especially numerous or complicated groups of things exist in a single sentence. But do we really need them?
In The Huffington Post, though, Maddie Crum begs to differ. Strongly:
It should go without saying (but puzzlingly doesn't) that language can be made better by including more than what's necessary. There's been a recent push for simplifying language -- the maddening Hemingway app suggests the removal of adverbs, and Spritz, an irritating new speed reading app, flashes words and short phrases on a screen for quick ingestion. But when we use lowest common denominator language, we disallow more complicated thoughts.
It’s a terrific, thoughtful piece, and it’s here.


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