Sunday, November 8, 2009

Is Capt. Kirk dead or are you telling him someone has died?

Leave it to a comedian to impart an important lesson. On Thursday's 30 Rock episode, Tracy Morgan's Tracy Jordan character pointed out how a simple comma can make a huge difference in the meaning of a sentence.

In sentences where a person is being addressed, the comma is required. Otherwise that word before the name becomes an adjective for the person you are supposed to be talking. Unfortunately, I see many writers who don't understand that rule.

Note the difference:

He's dead Jim.

He's dead, Jim.

When addressing someone, remember what Tracey Jordan said: "Oh, you mean, 'He's evil COMMA Tracey,' "

No comments:

Post a Comment