A grammar error that drives me crazy

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I write everyday at work. I edit other people’s writing often. And I read a lot as well.

The most common grammatical error I see — made even by professional writers — is the use of a comma before “and” when combining two thoughts.
People often don’t use the comma when its critically needed…or they stick it in when it’s unnecessary.
Here’s the scoop:

A. When you are joining two separate stand-alone thoughts (complete sentences), you need the comma.

Example: I love correct grammar, and I shout for joy when it is right!

Quick test to make sure you’ve got it right: chop the sentence in half at the “and.” If the clauses stand alone (meaning they have a subject, verb, and predicate), then the sentence needs a comma.

B. When you are joining two fragments, you don’t need the comma.

Example: I love correct grammar and hate sloppy stream-of-consciousness writing.

Quick test: When you chop the sentences apart at the “and,” you can see that the second phrase can’t stand alone–it doesn’t have a subject!

This is an easy thing to remember…I hope you’ll help keep me sane by following this easy grammar rule.

1 thought on “A grammar error that drives me crazy”

  1. You are so funny, and you crack me up!
    I think it is awesome that you are so into words,
    and I’m grateful you are willing to share your infinite knowledge.
    I’ll try to not write in my normal sloppy manner anymore,
    and I know you will be grateful, eternally.
    Teehee, and yeehaw!

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