Top Tip Of The Week

Dodgy Commas!

In dialogue, is it necessary to place a comma before a character’s name? Read the following example:

“I can’t hear John.”

Written like this, the sentence clearly means that the person speaking can’t hear John. But perhaps the writer actually means that the person speaking is telling John that he/she can’t hear. See how the proper meaning is made clear through inserting a comma before John’s name:

“I can’t hear, John.”

Here is another example:

“I’m driving Mum.”

This indicates that the person speaking is telling someone he/she is going to be driving his/her mother somewhere. A comma before ‘Mum’, will indicate that the speaker is telling his/her mother that he/she’s driving:

“I’m driving, Mum.”

So the answer depends entirely on the meaning of what the person speaking is saying. Take care, it’s easy to change the whole meaning of a sentence by simply adding a comma in or leaving it out.

 

It’s almost the weekend. Hope yours is a good one 🙂

 

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2 Responses to Top Tip Of The Week

  1. Sadly, I’ve been told by my editor that I am a master of the dodgy comma so I dare not use one in this comment !

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