Monday, December 2, 2013

Linguistic Love Blog Tour

Today I welcome my editor, Chryse Wymer (she's the reason that Identity Theft was and Flickers will be technically flawless), who's showing off her glorious grammatical gifts (one might even say, her fantastical phrasal finesse) and looking for new clients, too.

Enough with the rhyming, here she is:

Thank you to John Abramowitz, who has graciously allowed me the blog space to talk about grammar. Well, in this case, I’m talking about usage. This is the second part of my series on commas. If you are interested in reading part one, visit A.B Shepherd’s blog at
This month, I’ll be hopping along from blog to blog to share my knowledge on the nuts and bolts of great writing. I am a copy editor, proofreader, and author—published both traditionally and independently. I’m also raffling off Amazon gift cards to get you started on your editing bookshelves. So here goes:

As I said in the previous blog, a comma’s main function is to separate. I wrote about this in detail, as well as the first function of a comma, at
The second function of a comma is to separate coordinated main clauses. (A clause is a sentence part that contains a subject and a verb.) The easiest way to look at this is that if you have two independent clauses that are joined by the conjunctions for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so, then a comma is generally used to separate them, e.g.: The front windshield was cracked [,] and a zombie lay writhing on the hood. Comma needed.
There are a couple of exceptions with coordinated main clauses: (1) when the main clauses are closely linked <Do as I tell you [no comma] and you won’t regret it>; and (2) when the subject of the second independent clause, being the same as in the first, is not repeated. <They were digging through trash cans and shambling across lawns.>
The third function of a comma is to separate most introductory matter from the main clause, often to prevent confusion. The introductory matter may be a word <However,>, a phrase <In the meantime>, or a subordinate clause <If you hate her so much,>. Very short matter may not need this comma <On Friday we have music class>, but phrases of three or more words usually do—and even the shortest of dependent clauses always do. <That said,>. In almost every case of introductory matter usage, a comma increases clarity. It never hurts to use it, and sometimes, it’s absolutely imperative. <While eating, the baby clapped her hands.>
The fourth function of a comma is to mark the beginning and end of a parenthetical word or phrase, an appositive, or nonrestrictive clause—e.g.: “I am sure[,] however[,] that dogs bite harder than lizards.”/ “Doug[,] who is single[,] doesn’t like to dance.”/ “She wants to play Jesus, which is traditionally a baby’s role, at the church’s nativity play.
Join me tomorrow at Robynn Gabel’s blog:, where I will continue to discuss the function of a comma.

Chryse Wymer is a freelance copy editor and proofreader whose main focus is on indie writers. Her clients have been well reviewed, and one was recently chosen as a top-five finalist in The Kindle Book Review's 2013 Best Indie Book Awards in his category: mystery/thriller. For some years, she has been particularly obsessed with William S. Burroughs’s writing, who happened to coin the term heavy metal ... her favorite music. She’s also a published (traditionally and indie) author. You can contact her at, follow her on twitter: @ChryseWymer, or like her on Facebook: For more information and/or pricing, e-mail (above) or visit her Web site: (and yes, the first letter of Web site is capitalized. Look it up on Merriam-Webster’s.)

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