Oh, No, I, Have, OCCD!
Posted by The Logophile
Supposedly, the worst thing a writer can do is overuse commas. I think that the right thing to do now, is to remove the title suffix “W” from my name. Sadly, I can no longer be referred to as a writer.
After reviewing some of my previous posts, I have come to the conclusion that my teachers were correct. Way back in grade school grammar classes, I was labeled as the Comma Crazy student. And only now, after years of denial, I finally admit that it is true. It’s a big step to say that a teacher is right. We all know they, like our parents, are always wrong. However, I’m afraid in this case they were right and have described me perfectly. Only this once, of course.
I have taken a liking to commas the moment I set eyes on them. I have always found them to be the most adorable little things and felt the need to place them all over my writings. The irresistible, infinitesimal symbol with so much power. The ability to stop a reader mid sentence or make them wonder what comes after their brief pause. My fondness for the little marks has only, since then, grown stronger.
Aside from that, my comma overuse stems from a common misconception. There is a mistaken belief that was taught to most amateur writers back in the day, that one must place commas wherever a reader would pause for a breath. Especially in cases like my work, where the author writes like they speak; the endless run-on chatter. Perhaps I need more oxygen than most people, but when I read over my sentences, commas are more than paramount; they are vital. Sometimes I need five breaths in one standard line and that would necessitate five commas. Scary thought.
Now I admit, however, that I most definitely need help. The comma clutter is painful to my eyes and too demanding for my chest inhalations. I truly can not keep up and it’s time for an intervention. I can’t believe that I am about to say this, but I need to hire a grammar teacher.
Final diagnosis: OCCD, Obsessive Compulsive Comma Disorder.
Shay Delamater, MBR OCCD
(‘W‘ removed for obvious reasons. The rest of them are my current qualifications)
How’s that for a title? By the time this year ends, my professional suffixes will need their own residence and social security number.