the power of the comma

Lets eat[,] Grandma.Reuters editor, Tony Tharakan, sneaks a spurious comma into his post on how a comma allowed a Malaysian airline to sneak into the protectionist Indian market (h/t Grammar Girl).

He invites readers to identify his spurious punctuation mark.

Very clever.

I think I’ll follow his lead and invite you to find the (not one but) two (yes, 2!) false commas in this very post.

(Hint: they’re more than unnecessary; they change the meaning of what I’ve written to imply something that is false.)

(Crossposted at


3 Responses to the power of the comma

  1. pithom says:

    Before “Tony” and after “Tharakan”.

    • bkmarcus says:

      How do those commas change the meaning?

      • Scott Lahti says:

        By implying that you are personally addressing your description of the actions of a now-unnamed Reuters editor to a reader named Tony Tharakan*, and in so doing making of your intended meaning a … comma chameleon.

        *If your reader be, Tharakan,
        I be bk-comma knockin’

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