It’s possible that some of us have a vague idea at the back of our brains that you shouldn’t use a comma before and. I know that sometimes this was taught as a punctuation rule in UK schools. But punctuation is intended to make things clear and to be an aid to reading, not a set of hard and fast rules, and should is a word I dislike intensely and try to avoid if I can. There are certainly some situations where a comma before and is preferable and helpful.
Emily Smart, Copywriter Extraordinaire I must start by saying that, when it comes to copywriting, my fellow blogger, Emily, is a brilliant exponent of the craft. She can turn out an excellent piece of writing at the drop of a hat in whatever style, tone or genre that you wish. She can be funny, serious, concise, detailed, evocative or plain down to earth – whatever best suits the task in hand. If you want a copywriter who can write accurately to a brief and deliver the goods to a deadline, then Emily’s… Read More
I belong to a writing group composed of five friends who met 10 years ago on a week’s holiday on the island of Zakynthos where we took part in a creative writing course. (Actually, that’s not strictly accurate as one of the friends is my husband whom I met more than 40 years ago and he didn’t do creative writing, he did sailing, but we let him join the group nonetheless.) One of our activities over the years has been to write stories where one of us starts off and then the… Read More
You don’t see many semicolons around these days and you don’t see many colons either. Maybe they are thought of as rather old-fashioned, tending to break up a text unnecessarily. Most people seem to prefer to stick to commas and full stops, perhaps a little uncertain about when a colon or semicolon might be appropriate. I think that, used correctly, they can add a pace and a rhythm to a piece of writing which can make it livelier, clearer and easier to read. Semicolons (;) Three Main Uses 1. A semicolon can… Read More
My co-blogger, Emily, has alerted me to the following story: An English lecturer wrote the words: A woman without her man is nothing on the whiteboard and asked her students to punctuate it correctly. All the males in the class wrote: A woman, without her man, is nothing. All the females in the class wrote: A woman: without her, man is nothing. The choice between a comma and a colon makes a huge difference in meaning. Punctuation is powerful.