Why OCCPD is okay.
I used to suffer from OCCPD. What is OCCPD? Obsessive compulsive comma-placing disorder. I put commas all over the place, anywhere and everywhere that I pleased.
Then I started “maturing” and I started restricting my comma use and being careful with where I place them. I also learned about other puncutation marks, such as colons and m-dashes.
However, I’m now questioning this mindset of needing to overcome OCCPD. I have three reasons why it’s okay to have OCCPD.
1) Commas are easier to spot than no-commas. Basically, if no comma exists where a comma should go, you have to realize you need to put something where there’s nothing. If there is a comma, well, then your mind registers that you have placed punctuation there in the first place.
2) Commas are easier to remove than insert. Now you’ve noticed a comma. Does it belong? If it doesn’t, you just need to remove it. In order to insert a comma, you need to realize the need for the comma in the first place.
3) Reading something with commas is generally easier than reading it without. I proofread people’s papers as a job. Sometimes I’ll see sentences that are five lines long, and yet the writer maybe used only two commas. In that case, I first need to seperate the sentence down, and analyze each part, before I realize where the commas must actually be placed.
If a sentence is five lines long, and chopped into a bunch of little sections, it’s a lot easier to see what doesn’t belong.
Keep in mind that this is all based on the fact that comma rules aren’t always easy to remember. Nor are they set in stone. Even my english teacher admitted that sometimes in very short instances, it’s okay.
So now I think I’ll not restrict my comma use as much, but I’m still going to use my newer friends of m-dashes and, more rarely, colons, just because it’s fun to spice things up too.