If you forget to use commas (or are the unfortunate subject of a cover story edited by Cro-Magnons), snide bloggers will tell the world that you like to eat your family and your dog. An embarrassment no matter how expertly prepared the meal.
Scientists. Smart, but not always so savvy. I recently found myself somehow on the mailing list for the newsletter of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If your organization goes by the acronym PNAS, ought you call your weekly dispatch the Tipsheet?
My introductory email explained that I may “show relevant parts of the PNAS tipsheet” to independent specialists to solicit informed comment. But each tipsheet is “NOT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE.”
For another pleasing paring, watch the okonomiyaki robot in action. Okonomiyaki, a type of Japanese omelette-pancake, roughly translates to “your favorites, grilled.” Try not to drool; he might short circuit.
A couple of sites are chock full of hilarious auto-correct text mishaps like the one above from iPhuckups. Another, Damn You Auto Correct, launched a little after, takes contributions. Most come from iPhones. Freaking iPhones.
I recently got a software upgrade for my piece of shit phone from Verizon. The upgrade did nothing to address the irritating little problem that causes the phone to spontaneously shut off. It did, however, randomize all my photos and change, of all things, the order of operations in predictive text. Moreover, it dissed the comma, one of my top five favorite punctuation marks.
It’s not enough that I have to unwire the muscle memory that I’ve developed using T9 for years, I’m also dealing with the conspicuous short-shrifting of the trusty comma. Once just a single “Next” press after the default period, the comma is now a full five keystrokes down the line, after the @ sign, question mark, exclamation point and hyphen, in that order.
The comma is oft unappreciated, but to be considered inferior to the @ sign and the hyphen? A second class citizen, just one step up from an ampersand? It’s a sad, sad state of affairs.
Commas make your text(s) more readable. And they make you look smarter. (Bonus!) This is a call to action, folks. Don’t forsake the comma. Keep ’em coming, please.
Headlines like this one on News.com.au make me wonder if web editors are too pressed for time to see the big picture, or if web writers are quiet geniuses exploiting the 24-hour news cycle to publish subversively hilarious copy:
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