The genius of Dan Piraro’s Bizarro strikes again. I hardly know what to say, except that I’ve written about every topic mentioned on the cover. Except the lips.
Well, The Writing Rag site has been around since January of 2009 (!), and more than 400 posts (!!) whaddya expect?
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I have no idea why this is funny—I don’t know enough pop culture references, I guess. You have permission to explain it to me in the comments.
Dan Piraro does a good job of being bizarre in his Bizarro comic.
Dan Piraro’s comic Bizarro is usually pretty good, and like most cartoonists, he’s a bit of a grammar curmudgeon (as I am). So today’s post is easy to write.
Be nice to know how she could tell he said it wrong, though…
PS. If you go to the actual comic and look at the title through 3-D glasses, it’s three-dimensional.
Commas are a way of separating sentence content from the rest of the sentence. You may not separate a subject from its verb. You can do other things with a single comma, though. As single comma, usually after the first word in the sentence, can be direct address. That’s when you name the person or thing you are speaking to. (Charlie, get out of bed!) It can also separate something parenthetical, such as a conditional clause. (If you don’t get out of bed now, you’re going to miss the bus!) A single comma can also separate something called an appositive. An appositive is renaming something; it’s equivalent to an equals sign. Here’s an example of that from a recent Bizarro comic. Read the apron. I confess I’m not much into rock and roll, so I just barely know that “Kiss” is the guy’s name. Or something.
What about two commas? The rule in writing is that you don’t separate a subject from its verb with a comma. But you may use two commas. Two commas enclose a parenthetical remark. Since it’s parenthetical, it doesn’t count as part of the sentence. Let’s modify the above:
Kiss, the cook, sports a rather unconventional appearance.
You can take out “the cook” and you still have the main sentence. Do not say, “Kiss, the cook looks rather unconventional,” unless you’re talking to Mr. Kiss about a cook.
A little more about parenthetical remarks: You can make them three ways. I already mentioned commas. Use commas for a minor aside. Use parentheses (which I use rather often in my writing) for remarks that are somewhat off topic. Finally, use M-dashes—very handy to know how to use—to emphasize the importance of the remark. You make a M-dash by holding down the Alt key while you type 0151 on the numeric keypad. Mac users, you’re on your own, and some word processors have their own way of making them. I’ll belabor the point:
Kiss (did you know he can cook?) is pretty good with a barbecue grill. Kiss—he is actually a very good cook—served up some excellent spare ribs.
A final parenthetical remark: You really should kiss the cook.
Here’s a comic I ran into recently. The parrot got three things right that a lot of folks get wrong. Bizarro is generally pretty funny, by the way, and I recommend it.
The first thing is he mentioned himself first. Yes, this is opposite of an aside I made in a recent post about case. Normally, out of humility, you’re supposed to mention yourself last, but it’s not necessary to put yourself behind inanimate objects, and he’s talking mainly about himself anyway.
Second, he used the correct case. Many people would have said “With crackers and I…” and this is wrong. Object of a preposition—use “me.”
Third, a lot of folks would have missed the apostrophe in “a thousand’s.” It’s a contraction of “thousand is.”
Fourth, he didn’t point out that his mistress had eaten a few too many crackers herself.