Writing Tip: Turn commas into periods
By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Counsel
The first place to look? Commas following words like “and” or “but.” They taught us in school never to begin a sentence with those two words. But it’s okay. And it’ll make your writing easier to read.
I’m not suggesting you ban commas from your writing. They’re important to have around. A missing or stray comma can change the meaning of what you say.
For example: Let’s eat grandma. Let’s eat, grandma. In the second example, grandma is joining you for lunch. In the first example, she is lunch. Yikes.
Another example: When hunting, tigers hide in the bushes. When hunting tigers, hide in the bushes. Moving that comma over one word turns the tigers from predator to prey.
This is designed to make you chuckle: What’s that crawling up, your leg? This may evoke at least momentary terror: What’s that crawling up your leg?
So, commas are powerful. Use them well. But look for opportunities to turn them into periods, too. Your writing will be easier to read. And have more impact.