|... or, like, not|
Punctuation Rule Breakage
Pro or con?
Elsewhere somebody talked about leaving out commas when he didn't like them. This is a response I made.
I'm assuming this is breaking hard rules, not just using the great expanse of stylistic wriggle-room Chicago Manual of Style and its brothers leave us.
I came up with five consideration to think about when playing fast and loose with commas. This holds true with a lot of writerly eccentricities besides comma punctuation, I suppose.
Let's say you leave out commas that do not, for some reason, please you on a case-by-case basis.
The publisher's copyeditor will have to laboriously add or remove those off-brand commas.
She really has no idea which comma-errors are done on purpose and which are true mistakes. She has to mark them all.
While she's doing all that comma work, she's not fine-combing your manuscript for other problems.
She's only got a set number of hours, most likely .
What do you want her to work on?
|Managing Editore: Been a hard week|
Then the Managing Editor picks up this complicated mess and says "I got an author here who doesn't know basic punctuation" or worse, "He's doing this on purpose?"
The Managing Editor's job is to look at every stet and say 'yes' to some and 'no' to some. You've given him work. Much work.
You have just pissed off the Managing Editor.
This is not a good thing
There will be some important stets you want to make. It's easier to argue for that one important stet if you have not just been stroppy over 800 missing-comma stets.
|Sometimes we don't want to innovate|
While most readers won't notice commas one way or the other . . .
the ones who do notice intermittent use of the Oxford comma or failure to set off essential relative clauses with commas
will not only be distracted from the flow of your fiction,
they will see these as mistakes arising from the author's ignorance
rather than considered authorial choice
and in their heart of hearts, they will think less of you.