Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Commas And Toos

So I was writing away and noticed that I had thrown a comma in front of "too" in a sentence such as "I'm working on him, too."  I looked at it and threw the comma out.  It didn't make any sense.  There was no pause between "him" and "too", so, rhetorically, the comma wasn't needed (in this case--if one wanted to indicate a pause, then a comma makes a great choice here), and, grammatically, it wasn't doing anything.  In terms of meaning, the sentence read just as clearly without the comma.  I certainly wouldn't have put in a comma if the sentence read "I'm working on him also" or "I'm working on him as well", so why should it have a comma for "too"?  So I went back in the manuscript and made sure to yank all the commas out that I had placed in front of the "too"s where I didn't want to indicate a pause.  I must have picked this up from reading and unconsciously noticed that a lot of other writers were chucking commas in front of "too"s, so I started doing it, uh, too.  I don't know why those writers were doing that, but often punctuation usage just plays follow the leader even if the trend doesn't make any sense.  No doubt that if a copyeditor gets hold of the manuscript, then the too commas will pop back up, and it will be a battle to get them removed, but, in the meantime, they are out.

I hope other writers dump the commas there, too . . . er . . . there too. 

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