Spiffing y'all up, one typo at a time
I am so sad for a friend of mine. Her husband recently posted on Facebook that his “wife Sally just ran her first 5K.” I’m so thrilled for her physical accomplishment, but I didn’t realize that her husband has more than one wife. They’re Catholic, as am I, and we don’t do that sort of sister wives thing . . .
What? He’s not a polygamist? He just doesn’t know the power of a pair of (missing) commas? Oh, thank goodness!
Corny, yes. But I am hoping it’ll help y’all remember to use your commas of apposition when they’re needed! Let’s take a quiz: Can you tell me what’s different about these two folks?
Friend A writes, “My sister Adrienne is a lovely girl.”
Friend B writes, “My sister, Adrienne, is a lovely girl.”
You’re right! Friend A has more than one sister; Friend B has only one sister. How do I know?? Those precious commas of apposition!
I certainly hope Sally can forgive her husband, what’s-his-name, for his perceived polygamy.
*A very, VERY convenient Southern saying. It has many uses, one of which is to convey actual sympathy/empathy. It’s also handy in that we don’t much like insulting folks. You know about those people who’ll just say it like it is, no matter what, and they don’t care if you’re offended or if you don’t like them or what you think one bit. Well, I’m not that person.
A Yankee might say, “Ohmygawd. She is so stinking stupid.” I was taught to express that same idea with “Bless her heart. She is just dumber than a stump.” Said with a drawl, it just seems much sweeter and less offensive.