Learn those pesky rules of how to use commas correctly!
Correct comma usage can get tricky when you start analyzing your sentences deeply and start second-guessing what you have written. We all have moments when, while we are typing away an essay or even a simple email to a work colleague, we question whether or not a comma has been placed where it belongs. Most of us are not grammar experts, and although we have learned the rules early on in our schooling, bad habits can easily overcome the good as we read content from various sources that do not guarantee proper English.
Fear not, as now there is an app for that! Download EZCOMMA, created by David Tick, and read up on those pesky rules of how to use commas correctly. Simple and clear, this app lists seven “lessons” on comma usage. The app is free and extremely useful for anyone who does a lot of writing and just needs a quick and easy lookup to fix things.
When you download EZCOMMA, it starts you off on the main menu, which lists seven boards labeled with lesson names, from 1a to 5b:
- Lessons 1a and 1b cover prepositional phrases, where they are found within a sentence’s structure and how to use commas in each case.
- Lesson 2 covers comma usage in compound sentences when using coordinating conjunctions.
- Lesson 3 discusses the rules of substituting a semicolon for a comma and coordinating conjunction pair.
- Lesson 4 talks about using a semicolon with a conjunctive advert to replace a comma and coordinating conjunction.
- Lesson 5a and 5b explain comma usage in complex sentences, with 5a discussing sentences starting with dependent clauses and 5b explaining usage when sentences begin with an independent clause.
Your host as you navigate through the app is Mr. E. Z. Comma. He appears on each screen and teaches each “lesson” by narrating the examples as they appear.
Each lesson describes a rule in some detail. Below the rule, there is a button labeled “Examples.” Tap on this and a chalkboard magically slides down from under the label and upon it appears a series of sentences that exemplify the rule. Mr. Comma is there sounding them out as they are typed onto the chalkboard.
From the main screen you can select an icon labeled “The Book”, which will take you to the apps website that talks about the creator’s published book, “’Codes’ For Successful Writing.” Tap on the “More” arrow from the main screen and you can share information from this app with others through Facebook or Twitter.
The only downside I found to this app was that I could not hear Mr. Comma. As examples were printed and his mouth was moving, no sound seemed to emanate from my iPhone. I looked for a settings window from which to adjust my volume, but could not find one. Maybe there is not supposed to be any sound, but then that would just seem strange.
Yet, it is a handy tool for anyone who wants to quickly look up what to do when they are not sure of how to handle a questionable comma situation. I would like to see a “game” or tutorial added soon to test how well one has improved after using the rules.