How To Write Conversationally. Part One: Using Commas Effectivey
The first thing I tell people when they ask me how I can get my thoughts on paper so easily is that it’s just that - I write what I’m thinking instead of thinking about what to write. It’s eye-opening how easy it can be to write conversationally and with personality if you forget about the stress of actually writing. Small businesses especially tend to have more difficulty creating content to share with their audience. Myself included. I’m often told that it’s difficult to write what customers want to hear and to get ideas on paper the right way. Many blogs come off stiff and too informative, and sadly, more like a textbook read than something readers are engaged with. With this in mind, I thought it a great time to build a How to Write Conversationally series. And, if I’ve kept you intrigued this far, here is my first tip on how to write more conversationally in the content you share: using the comma. If you’ve read anything of mine, including this sentence, you’ve noticed that I am a HUGE fan of the comma. Don’t be afraid to use commas.
Being afraid of “splicing” your sentences shouldn’t keep you from using the comma in your writing. Commas allow you to spice up your sentences and give them a bit more charisma. They also give your business writing a conversational flow. Don’t follow all the “rules” of commas.
Of course, there’s a reason grammar exists but sometimes style outweighs the need to follow every comma rule. Don’t let making sure everything is perfect get in the way of your creative flow. If it reads better with a comma, add it in! Before you start breaking all the rules, you should understand them first. This way you’ll be able to let readers know you’re breaking the rules on purpose and not because you’re lazy. In case you’ve forgotten a few grammar essentials for commas: A comma splice is the linking of two complete ideas that should instead be separated by a colon, semi-colon, or even a period. “My writing is engaging, I love using commas” is a comma splice. A run-on sentence is NOT a long sentence that has too many commas. Actually, it’s a sentence that has more than one idea within it yet has absolutely nothing separating them (not even a comma splice). “My writing is engaging I love using commas” is a run-on sentence because it has nothing separating the two ideas. It’s a run-on even though it’s short! Never use a comma before a subordinate conjunction. I can remember sometime in elementary school when a teacher told me to always put a comma before “because” or other subordinate conjunctions (a word that links an independent clause with a dependent one). In reality, however, you need to leave those commas out. “I started using commas, because they help the fluidity of my writing” is an improper use of the comma. Leave it out unless it is needed to precede a word that in other cases is used as a conjunction but is needed to clarify the separation between two different ideas. Using too many commas can confuse readers. This is true especially if you’re using them improperly and unknowingly. Alas, though, I choose to believe that commas are one of writing’s most beloved gifts. Need help creating blog posts for your small business? Send me a message now! Look for How to Write Conversationally. Part Two: Know Your Audience and Speak to Them next week!