Thursday – A little Personal


Hi. My name is John, and it has been over four weeks since I last eliminated a comma from my writing.

This statement may sound like something I would say at a comma avoidance anonymous meeting. I don’t mean to keep eliminating commas, and I think it just might be a diseaseΒ or something.

I tell ya, I try to not avoid commas. I work hard at not avoiding the use of commas and then before I know it I avoid one comma, and I’m right back to where I started. It escalates into a nightmare of avoiding comma’s until I’m in a position where I don’t remember how to use a comma at all.

When I get to this point, I know its time to go back into comma rehab. There are some excellent facilities around the country where you can find peace while you overcome your comma avoidance addiction. The best part is that the institutions tend to keep you away from the critical evaluations of those who notice missing commas.

Of course, within yourself, one has the capability to decide if the comma avoidance addition is going to control one’s life or one is going to control it.

So, I will keep trying to stay ahead of the addiction and keep the Β comma avoidance prayer in my mind. God help me control the commas I can control, forget those I cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference.


  1. Commas were drilled into me long ago, but I’ve become a little lax over the years. Part of it is because it seems everyone has their own idea of when to use them. I’ve had people tell me I use too many commas, but I was taught that they show up when you would naturally pause within a sentence. That’s the tip I keep using while editing.

    1. You are right on. My problem is I get into the writing and then when I go back, I miss them. Here’s to the editor. *Gulps wine*

      1. Same here. That’s why I try to remind myself about looking for comma spots. Was that a glass or a full bottle?

      2. Ha ha ha. πŸ˜€

  2. Ha, this is funny John! I think most of us struggle with commas, trying to figure out where they should be & where they shouldn’t. Regardless, I shall continue to read your blog, comma addition be damned!

    1. Thanks Lynn. Since I publish seven in a week there are bound to be some missing. πŸ™‚ (you are a saint)

  3. I, like, them, use, them, all, the, time.

    1. Good for you, Craig. You da man. πŸ™‚

  4. Sometimes I think I USE commas way too much – I think I need more periods.

    1. This days you can never use too many commas. Thanks GP. πŸ™‚

  5. It’s famine or feast with me and commas as well – often in same writing session! Which is why I always edit the day after I’ve been in ‘splurge-mode’. Same with em-dashes and ellipsis(es?)… I think I have a really bad case of punctuation overload/overthink!
    Thank goodness for exclamation marks!!!! πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks, Jan. I have been driven to madness over these little marks. Good thing I have wine. πŸ™‚

  6. LOL! This was great, John, and the meme…well, you know I loved it too!

    1. Thanks, Jill. Yes I know.

  7. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    The comma addiction and how John Howell is doing as he goes through withdrawal….

    1. Thank you, Sally. Nice reblog.

  8. #CommaRehab… I’m dyin up here, eh! A beautiful post – thank you, good sir!

    1. Thanks, John. I need rehab for sure.

  9. Geraldine Lennon · ·

    You made my day, fine sir. A 12 step program for commas. Now, tell me is there a bootcamp somewhere for folks who have no clue where to put semicolons? Signed, Desperate in the foothills.

    1. Yes. I think Semicolon University has such a program. Thanks for stopping and the comment. πŸ™‚

  10. Commas help me breathe.

    1. I can understand that use. I guess I should stop holding my breath when I write. πŸ™‚

  11. Ha ha!! That’s funny, John! If you ever decide to make a career change, you might try stand-up comedy. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Jan. I actually would like that I’m sure. πŸ™‚

  12. LOL, I remember your love/hate relationship with commas. Punctuation helps prevent global destruction. A coworker once sent me an email, “Next time come to me with a question not a problem.” Excuse me? He was the one who was supposed to help with that kind of problem. An hour later (when my temper was finally under control)… I went to him and asked about the email.
    What he meant was, “Next time come to me with a question. Not a problem.”
    πŸ˜€ Have a thriving Thursday. Mega hugs.

    1. Oh, a good one, Teagan. Thanks. Have a Thundering Thursday yourself. πŸ˜€

      1. LOL…. That actually is predicted again this evening. Stormy Weather… need to learn the words. πŸ˜€

      2. Don’t know why there’s no sun up in the sky, stormy weather. Since my gal and I ain’t together, it’s been raining all the time πŸ™‚

  13. Heartafire · ·

    lol! I don’t know why people want to forego punctuation. Have a heart out there!

    1. It may be an illness. πŸ™‚

      1. Heartafire · ·


  14. Great post, John. I don’t mind commas all that much, but I LOVE dashes…ellipsis…and exclamation points!!.

    1. Yeah that is a whole other post. Thanks, Debbie.

  15. LOL! As you probably remember, I’m a bit of a comma-holic, drowning my sorrows with commas πŸ˜‰

    1. Yes I do. The other side is a comma avoidance-coholic. Me. MWAH πŸ˜€

  16. Long live the Oxford comma! Death to texting!

    1. Amen. Love the Oxford comma. Thanks for your words, commenting, and the visit.

  17. I wrote once about the conservation of punctuation. My wife edits my posts and inserts as many commas as she removes from bad places. I clearly don’t know how commas work. Great post.

    1. Thanks Dan. Gives me hope that I can continue on.

  18. […] Source: Thursday – A little Personal […]

  19. John, this is original. Love this post. I know I am guilty of abusing commas. Well done.

    1. Maybe you need an intervention. πŸ™‚

      1. lol Sure sound like it.

      2. Call comma avoidance anonymous

  20. Lol John, I loved this post. And, I love my commas too. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much. πŸ™‚

      1. Thank you. πŸ™‚

  21. Priceless. My question is whether that is a black spot on the page, a dead fruit fly, or a comma? I don’t use enough of them. o-O

    1. I’ll go with the fly.

  22. I try to remember all the rules but there are so many. It’s hard, so very hard. Now I have my friend Grammarly to help me. I suspect some of the rules have changed since I first learned them. They’re sneaky that way. πŸ˜€ — Suzanne

    1. So true. Rules tend to drift. Thanks, Suzanne.

  23. I use far too many

    1. I don’t think so. Do you really?

      1. Really? I always thought did. There is hope, see!

      2. There is hope. Using commas seems to be in these days.

      3. I’m in. What a thing.

  24. Good for you… John.

  25. It seems we all struggle with commas. Check out Mary Norris of The New Yorker sometime. She is the Comma Queen.

    1. Thanks Jo. I’ll do that. Have a great weekend.

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