Some of you might have noticed that I am pretty stingy with my commas, to the point of omitting them when the rules of English says they should not be omitted.
I can hear some of you gasping already. “A professional writer deliberately omitting necessary punctuation??” Yes. Yes, that is what is happening. Breathe into a paper bag and allow me to explain.
It’s actually incredibly simple. Research has shown that readers are put off by too much punctuation, and sometimes the English language calls for too many commas. That’s it. Thanks for reading.
Cluttered text is as off-putting to a site user as a busy page layout. It’s crowded and ugly. It makes skimming more difficult. Cleaning it up and keeping punctuation down to two, maybe three max in one sentence opens up the page and makes it more visually appealing.
Now, you can’t just forget about them completely. Commas should not be skipped if skipping them changes the meaning of the sentence or if there would be a noticeable pause when speaking the text.
And before someone bites my head off, I know there are always exceptions. A professional website written in a formal tone should definitely not publish selective punctuation or sketchy grammar. Your audience will be more forgiving of the ugly commas, because they expect sharp precision.
As a writer who appreciates proper grammar, spelling and punctuation, I understand that this concept can be difficult to swallow. However, my job is to get conversions and the research does not lie. You lose this round, Punctuation Police.