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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Toe to Toe

There seems to be a battle of wills going on between two different schools of thought.
If you visit some agency websites, you'll learn that you don't put the comma before the word "too" at the end of a sentence. But if you visit other websites and blogs, you will see that the agents use the comma. I've searched the web over and over again for advice on which way to go, but everyone has a different opinion. Jodi Picoult (or perhaps, her editor) even seems to argue with herself over this issue because sometimes she uses a comma, and sometimes she doesn't.
Now, I don't know about you, but I learned in school that there should be a comma. I also hate it! I find it annoying, especially when there obviously should be no pause there. My feeling is this: proper mechanics indicate the comma is necessary, but literary trends seem to allow for its absence.
What's your opinion? Is the comma necessary?
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13 comments:

writtenwyrdd said...

According to my English degree studies and the current style manual to hand, you should use the comma. But you know what? There's a lot of flexibility with commas and people tend to drop them more and more. I recall reading someplace a while back that if a comma can be removed without distorting the meaning by all means remove it.

Anyhow, thanks for stopping by my blog!

MeganRebekah said...

When writing fiction you have a lot more leeway with commas (especially in dialogue).
Nonfiction work usually needs to follow the proper rules.

Amber Lynae said...

My own personal preference is no comma, because I feel a comma creates an unnecessary pause. It is an adverb, is it not? If you wrote "she sang the song beautifully." Is that supposed to have a comma. (I am asking for real, because I don't know for certain. I would say no.) So in that same sentence if you changed it to too. "She sang the song too." Why would it need a comma? I am definitely not a grammar expert; however, I normally do rather well knowing the correct grammar to use.

Angie Ledbetter said...

I don't put it there. If there's a question, I'd probably just substitute "also" for "too," or does same wonky rule apply?

A comma I do wonder about is like in a salutation or when speaking to someone, I always put a comma like so: "Karen, that was great." or "Thanks, Billy." Opinions?

Novice Writer Anonymous said...

I tend to go with my gut. If there's need for a pause, I put the appropriate punctuation. If not, then I ignore it.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I wish I had a Chicago Manual of Style to look this up, but I don't. It is supposedly the be all and end all guide to what's acceptable.

I learned to use the comma as well, but I know that my critique partners have called me on it a time or two. So who knows what the style guide is saying now?

Karen said...

It's supposed to be there. That silly little comma. But I'm guilty of going back and forth. Sometimes I use it and sometimes I don't.

MzzLily said...

I've have questioned the same thing... I was taught to use the comma and do most of the time. I was also taught to use it with the name as in the above comment. In my fiction writing, I do things less by-the-rules. I'll have to learn more about that Chicago Manual of Style.

strugglingwriter said...

I'll stick with the comma because I'm too old to change my ways! :)

Novice Writer Anonymous said...

I think that style guides are very helpful, but there are times, especially in fiction writing and especially in poetry writing, that your gut is the better judge.

Strange Fiction said...

Put me down as indecisive. I think it depends on the sentence but comma usage isn't one of my strong points...

Danyelle said...

I don't remember the source, but I read something recently that said it's become acceptable not to use the comma there.

Lazy Writer said...

Thanks for all the opinions on this subject. I guess it's something each writer has to decide for themselves. I have many other "comma" related questions, so maybe I'll do another post about it sometime.