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From Comma Butterflies to Bracketing Bros: Commas of Modern Times

comma butterfly

Have you ever witnessed a comma butterfly in flight? Oh yes, Reader, there is indeed a comma butterfly, and it may well be the coolest comma of them all. If you have seen this butterfly, you will recall the ragged, irregular edge of its wings—beneath which silverish commas are hiding. The comma butterfly, of the genus Polygonia and subfamily Nymphalinae is comma, ahem common, in the Eastern US. But this isn’t the only cool comma we are going to talk about today. In fact, we have four cool and collected commas to carry your content writing to the next level—and to make your editors’ job a lot easier.

Listing Lovers

The listing comma is perhaps the most common comma in the comma crew. A listing comma comes around any time you are using the word “and” or “or” to connect more than one item. In fact, you could say that listing commas provide a love/hate relationship with items.

Whether or not you prescribe to the Oxford comma, here is a consideration. The last two items listed in a listing comma situation should be independent of the other. For example, if you have the classic “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves” book title, you have a list that can easily be misread as “Eats Shoots and Leaves” if you get too loosey-goosey with your listing comma.

Bracketing Bros

With a bracketing comma, you’ve got a different scenario. This is the type of comma you see, my dear reader, tucked into the middle of a sentence, like so. You can’t have one bracketing comma without another—bracketing commas are the bros of commas.

And like a typical bro scenario, this comma sets off an interruption. It’s the comma that butts into your sentences. Sometimes one of the bros of the bracketing commas gets mad and stays out of the sentence. When this happens you are left with a weak interruption—so weak you may want to reconsider the phrase altogether.

Joining Comma

The kumbaya of the commas is the joining comma—signified by any array of connecting words. This includes:

  • And
  • Or
  • But
  • Yet
  • While

As noted, the joining comma is all about togetherness. There aren’t any weird sentence structure stipulations with this comma. Simply add a joining word and comma and your sentence is all set.

Gapping Comma

If you want to use your comma to speed up your content—go with the gapping comma. A gapping comma takes the place of words. There aren’t any “ands” or “buts” here. Just stick a gapping comma in when you want to say the same thing twice but with economy.

Want more creative content about commas and other grammatical tips? Check out WriterAccess!


“Welcome. I’m the Whispering Wordsmith of the Woods, An Old Man Willow type cunning the lit forest, Disrupting textbookish writers with grammar snaps and cracks.” As a professional web content writer for small-to-medium businesses, Miranda B understands how to effectively balance technical jargon and personal brand messaging. Her content is sticky, evergreen when expected to be, and always creative. Keep ’em coming back for more, that’s Miranda’s motto!

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By WriterAccess

Freelancer Miranda B

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