Posted By Amanda Collins on July 11, 2012
While walking my dog this morning, he, of course, was distracted by various smells. I’m out there for fitness and like to get back to A/C before the heat overwhelms me, so I’m eager to keep moving. Prodding Sniffy McSnifferton along, I said, “Let’s go, crazy.” And that got me thinking about commas and today’s grammar education (because I AM The Grammar Doctor, so I’m often thinking about such things).
Too many people don’t even think about using a comma to set off the subject in such a statement. On Facebook, I see, “Happy birthday Joe” often. But when I said this to my dog Phoenix, I thought that “crazy” would be a good name to use to teach people how to use commas effectively.
There’s a big difference between “let’s go crazy” and “let’s go, crazy.” The first is a 1984 song by Prince popularized in the movie Purple Rain. The latter is a declarative sentence telling someone to whom you’re referring as crazy to go with you somewhere.
Since English can be a very confusing language, I like to use tricks to help people remember various rules. When writing something with someone’s name in it, substitute “crazy” for the person’s name. If crazy seems like an adjective (modifies a noun), you should offset the name with a comma: “You’re looking gorgeous crazy” vs. “You’re looking gorgeous, crazy.”
I’d love to hear what hints you have to remember some of English’s wackier rules. Feel free to share them in the comments below.