Monday, July 16, 2012

That Darn Comma

There's an editor I work with who is resistant to including the second comma when listing a city and state, such as: "A girl from Willmar, Minnesota, won the spelling bee."

What's wrong with "A girl from Willmar, Minnesota won the spelling bee," he wonders? We all know what it means, right? Don't all those extra commas just junk up the sentence?

Well, here's an example from Boing Boing where the comma would have helped:

Screen snap of text that begins Last week at the Grovetown, Georgia Walmart, an unidentified man
The missing comma makes the first sentence almost unintelligible. The Georgia Walmart? Huh?

Better yet, the Boingers could have rewritten the sentence: "Last week at the Walmart in Grovetown, Georgia, an unidentified man...."

Which gets rid of a comma by combining the one after the state with the one needed at the end of the dependent clause.

1 comment:

Michael Leddy said...

That’s a good example of how recasting the sentence is often the best way to solve a writing problem.