I have a quick question for everyone.  Would anyone be interested in signing up for a monthly newsletter?  It was a random thought that I had, I would share any posts that I have done that month, quick tips and lessons learned (hopefully they can help others), things like that.  And don't worry, I won't share your email address with anyone.

If anyone is interested, please contact me using the form on the contact page.

Also, if you have any suggestions for a newsletter topic or a post topic, I'm always open to suggestions.

Look forward to hearing from you.  And for those interested, I will write the first one the beginning of May.
Happy Friday!!!  What a week it has been.  The product description writing continues on steadily and my boring taxes are all done for the year.  Much more went into small business taxes than I realized and I will be more than prepared for next year.

It has been a great week to shake off the winter dust, both in my house and in regards to my fitness.  I am aiming to be as active as I can be this year, so I can get in the habit of it and keep it up.  Being back on my bicycle is definitely helping.  It's like being a kid again.  We are also training our samoyed to do some bikejoring.  He's having a blast with it, and it's good to see how much of a natural he is at it.  Sad to say, but I can't wait for winter again to start with a small sled.

The post is a little late today because I took advantage of the beautiful sunshine to get outside and start waking up my gardens.  Early weeding makes the rest of the season that much easier.  And with feeling more energetic lately, I will be able to get out all the time and take good care of the gardens this year.

Today I want to discuss the comma, and it's usefulness in writing.  I case you haven't noticed, I happen to be a big fan of comma use.  Run on sentences are a big no-no when writing, and commas offer a relief from that, creating pauses and elegant structure to any sentence.  In older literature, it was common to see sentences run for an entire paragraph, using commas and other punctuation to create the necessary pauses and structure.

There are many principles for using a comma, 38 of them in fact, so I will break up this discussion over several weeks, so as to save from an extremely long post.  We will start out with the basics for today.

Commas After Introductory Elements

1. A single-word adverbial introductory elements is almost always followed by a comma

    First, they had to clean the dishes before they could go outside to play.

* Note: Do not insert a comma after an adverb at the start of an inverted sentence (a sentence in which the verb precedes the subject).  Do not insert a comma after a coordinating conjunctions (and, but, yet, or, nor, and for) when such a conjunction is used as a transitional word at the beginning of a sentence.

2. A transitional phrase should be followed by a comma.

    On the other hand, she was a very talented musician.

3. It is wise to insert a comma after a introductory prepositional phrase that is five words or longer.  However, this principle tends to be ignored at times.

    But at the Christmas Eve party, she felt a warm glow of happiness overflow her.

4. A comma must follow a participial phrase at the start of a sentence.

    Coming from another actor, this statement might have seemed self-serving.

5. A comma must follow an introductory infinitive phrase.

    To stop car thieves, the car collector invested in a garage security system.

Well I think we'll leave it there for today, and I will finish off the introductory elements next week.  Have a great weekend and next week, everyone.

If anyone would like a topic covered in the future or have any questions feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly.  Also, if I make any mistakes, please point them out, I'm still learning too and welcome any kind of pointers, corrections and criticisms.

© 2013 S. Stevens

Lutz, Gary and Diane Stevenson. Writer's Digest Grammar Desk Reference. Cincinnati: Writer's Digest Books, 2010. Print.