I will admit it publically; I am a Comma Addict and need intervention. I can’t help it, I like commas. I could write a sentence that goes on indefinitely with commas sprinkled here and there. I also like dashes – especially when I have used my quota of commas for a piece I am writing – because they are better than parenthesis since I can continue a thought. Ellipses on the other hand… give me a chance to pause in my thoughts while writing… a deep breath or sigh just at the right spot for added flavor.
At least I am not an exclamation point addict. I have a writing friend that once used 24 exclamation points in a two-page piece she was writing! We all decided it was a bit too much and then had a big laugh. Just to bring the point (pun intended) back we always end each sentence with an extra exclamation point, just to remember the extra exuberance on her part!
I know several writer friends that would need to attend CAA (Comma Addicts Anonymous) or EAA/EPAA (Ellipses Addicts Anonymous/Exclamation Point Addicts Anonymous) meetings with me. We would blend in the background and then stand and announce our challenge in front of the room. Others would nod and smile in sympathy having been there, done that before.
Grammar is important and a writer must remember not to overuse commas, dashes, ellipses and exclamation points because it can make them appear to be a novice. As a recovering comma addict I constantly work to keep my writing free of unnecessary punctuation that would flag me as a beginner writer. But, every once in a while…I fall back on old habits – realizing that I slipped up again!