The college students in my writing classes are, by now, digital natives. Writing, for them, is something done on a phone…or maybe a tablet/laptop. These students clearly don’t know the standard comma rules. The evidence shows that they know what a comma is, and they obviously see them in some of the more officiated writing online. We know they know what a comma is because they usually sprinkle them, sparingly, through the college essays they’re required to write. But they were not taught the standard comma rules, as I was in the second half of the 20th century, and they don’t care. Should they? Should we?
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If you learn to punch up your punctuation, proofreading, and paragraphs; spit-shine your sentences; and touch up your typing, you may feel better about your writing, but until you go up in your helicopter and get a panoramic view of what writing really is, your writing may not become much more efficient or effective….