Tuesday, January 31, 2006


The comma is a punctuation mark, mistress of the period, slave of the semicolon. It separates ideas within the structure of a sentence; it's a pause, a caesura. Or so the dictionary says.

The comma, like all symbols in the world, holds profound meaning for many people. Lawyers use it as a tool of mercy in their tortuous statements. The literati adore it, despise it -- why, wasn't, it, Jose, Garcia, Villa, himself, who, made, the, comma, famous? Optimists see the apostrophe as comma in transcendence; pessimists see the comma as apostrophe condemned to earthly life.

Me and Her hold the comma in reverence, too. We adore it, despise it, like we do with all our gods. Our ziggurat is the phone line, our ritual the conversation. Her comma is a brief moment of peace, a time to recollect thoughts scrambled by loud words and louder silence, an unspoken armistice.

My comma is an obstacle, a rage-inducing eternal pause, undoubtedly illogical -- why, every sentence must end in a period, an exclamation, a question! I want to get my point across, clean up the mess, and settle the matter. My comma is my foe.

Differing opinions, comma deified, comma vilified. But one thing is certain -- comma means one thing for both of us,


Anonymous gari said...

hehehe for sure, it's different for both of us. :-)

rather love the ellipsis...than comma. :-)

8:16 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

gari, the ellipsis is a good choice. silence can be elegant. though my personality gravitates toward the exclamation point ;)

10:34 PM  
Blogger Abster said...

I, on the other hand, go for periods...and then spacings... I like to PAUSE for a span of time, just for the dramatics! Hehehe!!!

But the exclamation point comes in a very close second.

1:53 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

great justice done to most abused punctuation mark... (i love the ellipsis, just used it ... oh im using it again)

5:34 PM  
Blogger transience said...

that's a great way to look at so many different pauses that our worlds go through. the comma is casual, a non-tragic poseur, a prelude to non-theatrics and you made it so. i like it.

5:35 PM  
Blogger >|' ; '| said...

a comma is a man-made thing which can't be defined completely by man!!!!

6:01 PM  
Anonymous gari said...

hmmm...exclamation is also good. expecially if i am into "it!"...

the ellipsis is far more...hmmm...shall we say...hay!

poison, ang comma kasi sa tagalog di ba ay "kuwit" and it sound like, Quit...is that the same reason why man cannot handle it...the fear of quitting!

well, just speculating.

10:05 PM  
Anonymous gari said...

by the way, my second best marks are those with the "quote" and those inside the (parentheses), it brings more authority/

10:07 PM  
Blogger >|' ; '| said...

will someone translate wat gari said

11:37 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

abi, humans are by nature drama artists, and so pauses are natural to us, hehe. pity that some people don't seem to get out of the pause, or let's say, rut ;)

thanks, andy. ellipsis sure is mighty proud of the tons of people swooning over it.

trans dear, thank you. though my view of the comma is undoubtedly a selfish one. ;)

11:47 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

gari, i think i'm getting what you mean. hehe. i'm fond of using parentheses, too, though I reserve those for (slightly) sarcastic statements. oh, just used it ;)

poison, you put it nicely. believe me, you have the knack for that, man. we men are guilty of such ridiculous behavior -- crafting contraptions we can't understand ourselves.

maybe, it's just what they call "art". ;)

btw, gari said that comma in tagalog -- our native tongue -- means "kuwit", which eerily sounds similar to "quit". gari, nice observation there!

11:54 PM  
Blogger viruswitch said...

Interesting poetical analysis on the coma!

10:22 AM  
Blogger snst_blvd said...

i like comma better than period. because usually, its better to have to pause rather than end everything.

4:07 PM  
Blogger vaN said...

Of all the things you could talk about, you talk about the comma, about what it is, what it does, what it is to us, to you, and to every word, to a period, to a semicolon, a sentence, what a thing to talk about, you surely changed my view of "the comma," so If I were to end this statement I cannot do it with a comma,

and that's why I like it,

because it doesn't end,

but a comma can't do what my favorite can,

and that is to exclaim! Nice topic, phillip! :D

7:09 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

thanks, viruswitch. glad to see you out of the blog-rest!

sunset, that's true...similar to having 'hanging' endings in novels and films.

nina...that was a beaut. it's terribly wonderful to have comments such as yours adorn the entries in this blog. thanks ;)

8:16 PM  
Blogger Abaniko said...

Is $ a punctuation mark?

12:13 PM  
Blogger yayam said...

commas are dragging..i dunno..

but i love how you express deeper meanings to small things..:D

8:46 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

abaniko, i don't think so, hehe. but if you want it so, then we can always make an exception..

thanks, yayam. btw, i updated the link to your blog :)

1:36 AM  
Anonymous hera said...

i'm more of a question mark kind of person. but who would've thought a comma could mean those three words? you're such a romantic drama king, corsair. i love you for that. :D

7:46 PM  
Anonymous gari said...

corsi, enough of the comma anthology...pati postings mo naka-pause...hehehe...

11:29 PM  
Blogger claudzki said...

i hated the comma in high school...
my teachers said i had bad punctuation...

..so when i said "up yours!" i didn't leave out the exclamation mark :D

7:18 PM  
Blogger bing said...

adorable... but why regard the comma as the most abused punctuation mark, when it conjuncts two similar views, or even opposing ideas? i think it depends on the perception. let me put it this way, 'even the abused has its merits'...

4:11 PM  
Blogger Li'l Light said...

whoever she is, she's lucky.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Rizalist said...

Poetry, above all!

Well done Corsarius. This has to qualify as the shortest title to a blog post ever seen. A great explanation, and example, of "promise."
Punctuation, as breathing.

6:39 AM  
Anonymous ygraine said...

hey! it's been awhile.

i've been posting in my new home already, http://ygraine.suplada.net =) kindly update the link. =)

8:43 PM  
Blogger cosmochiq0011 said...


on the other hand, don't update my link yet..the server has gone wacky so im going back to my blogger account.. =)

10:10 PM  
Blogger Teh Topnotcher said...

This is so inspired!

What a difference a comma makes. It turns an ordinary loveless panda into a murderer.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

hera, i think some hate me for that. ;) but one person (such as you) is enough to negate their, erm, negative vibes. thank you very much, dear.

apologies, gari! bawi ako sa susunod. i've had enough of this comma, too! :P

claudzki, you made me laugh with that. sweet break from sour schoolwork, hehe.

thanks, tita bing. i've been pondering on what you wrote -- true, the value is in the eye of the beholder (a misquote, sorry). but then, as the *cough cough* barely noticeable hyperlink implies, the comma can be very, very beautiful.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

light, i'll tell that to her. ;)

rizalist, thank you very much. honestly, i never thought of that when i came up with the title, hehe. "Punctuation, as breathing." -- definitely, a line worth remembering.

sure, ygraine. just keep me updated on which link to use. if time permits, i'll check up on them soon. :)

whee, teh topnotcher is here! ;) that seems to be a very interesting book. now if only i had the dough to buy it!

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Daniel M. Harrison said...

Great post - picked up on it over here:




8:01 PM  
Anonymous Ravi said...

Sorry for posting here as iam unable to find your contact e-mail. i would like to have text link exchnage with your good blog. mine is based on SUN UNIX blog. you can find mine at http://opensolarisproject.com/unix/
you can contact me at big2all AT gmail.com

6:43 AM  
Blogger Rizalist said...

FOLKS, Those who’ve got the time to post comments on blogs, please have a look at this item from Austin Bay (who gets 10,000 visitors a day). He quotes my blog, but there is also this FilipinoAmerican there who is mouthing the admin line. Don’t know if he’s Palace or just another Pinoy enjoying America and making fun of what he got of. But I think it is extraordinarily important for people to stand up to and debate with our countrymen abroad. They don’t know anything but the folks over there listen to them because we sometimes only talk to ourselves. Please visit and comment (don’t be afraid, just be polite and make the right points):


10:31 AM  
Blogger mai said...

Mas maganda - end your sentences with smilies :D

Well you sure do have a thing for the ! There's this psychology book I've been reading to help me get rid of mine. Let's see if it works ;)

3:23 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

thanks, daniel. appreciate the commentary.

ravi, i sent you a response thru email.

noted, rizalist. unfortunately, by the time you posted this comment, i was in a long blog hiatus :( pity i wasn't able to share my two cents' worth...that was certainly a good discussion.

mai, good point! :D hehe.

3:21 AM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

btw guys, if you're interested, you can drop by the blogs of daniel harrison and manuel quezon iii, both of which mentioned this comma-centric post. thanks!

3:23 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home