I saw this photo and felt it was solid advice for comma usage.
Rule 1: The Oxford comma is not always necessary. Some writers eschew it entirely. If ambiguity is avoided, maintain your preferred style. Just beware this classic example of needing a serial comma:
Rule 2: I don’t feel this is always necessary and can slow down pace/context at times.
Example 3: Long, brown, shiny hair cascaded down her back.
Rule 7: The way this rule is written is misleading. The key emphasis should be on ‘sentence.’ Try this: Take everything before the comma and substitute a generic statement for the dialogue itself. If it still makes sense, the comma is correct.
Mother nodded at her friend a question.
Mother nodded at her friend. “Are you coming with us?”
It’s essential to know the rules so you can understand how and when to break them. Sometimes, that goddamn comma simply can’t be avoided whether we like it or not.
What do you think? Any others on the top list you think you can break? Let me know in the comments!
And if you’re feeling especially brave about breaking rules, check out this open call for Fuck the Rules, an upcoming anthology I’ll be coediting with the twisted David Owain Hughes. Only the brave few who are willing to throw up middle fingers, cross boundaries, and shake the status quo without tossing grammar, punctuation, and essential elements of storytelling aside will make the cut.
Stay tuned. More randomosity coming soon.