Or so Robert Samuelson claims culture has done. 

I could go on, but the column’s only 800 words, and more evidence would simply reinforce the point: de Tocqueville’s “feverish ardor” endures. There’s always too much to do, not enough time to do it. The comma is a small victim of our hustle-bustle. If we can save a few seconds a day by curtailing commas, why not? Commas are disparaged as literary clutter. They’re axed in the name of stylistic “simplicity.” Once, introductory prepositional phrases (“In 1776, Thomas Jefferson … “) routinely took commas; once, compound sentences were strictly divided by commas; once, sentences that began with “once,” “naturally,” “surprisingly,” “inevitably” and the like usually took a comma to set them apart.

No more. These and other usages have slowly become discretionary or unacceptable.

I’m all for seeing interesting connections between otherwise unrelated areas of life, but to blame the death of the comma on the hurried lifestyle we lead seems to be pushing it just a little.

As a chronic comma-over-user, I’d suggest that life is simpler, more elegant without excessive commas. The death of comma is the equivalent of the Googlizing of language–sparse.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

One Comment

  1. Killing the comma and slashing the words: orhowtocopewithtodaysgrammar…

    Matt Anderson comments on the demise of the Comma and whether or not it is due to our hurried lifestyle. He’s not so sure he buys into the notion. As for me, I’m open to the idea that our 24/7…


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