“Let’s eat Grandpa.”
“Turkeys gobble Grandma.”
“She finds inspiration in cooking her grandchildren and her dog.”
As the saying goes, “Commas save lives!” Just the simple addition of commas to the above sentences and Grandpa, Grandma, the grandchildren, and even the family dog are all free to live another day.
“Let’s eat, Grandpa.”
“Turkeys gobble, Grandma.”
“She finds inspiration in cooking, her grandchildren, and her dog.”
In an effort to end the scourge of comma-related fatalities, this month’s Style Quiz addresses the use of the comma.
Edit the following sentence based on your understanding of section 8.2 of the AMA Manual of Style.
The investigators performed a double-blind placebo-controlled patient-initiated 2-armed parallel clinical trial.
Highlight the text box for the answer: The investigators performed a double-blind, placebo-controlled, patient-initiated, 2-armed, parallel clinical trial.
In a simple coordinate series of 3 or more terms, separate the elements by commas (§8.2.1, Comma, Series, pp 337-338 in print).
If, like us at the AMA Manual of Style, you are determined to play a role in ending the epidemic of flagrant and dangerous comma misuse, check out the full quiz at www.amamanualofstyle.com.—Laura King, MA, ELS