The Capital Letter
Once upon a time, a sentence began it’s journey. It was filled with people, places, and actions. There was nothing one word wouldn’t do for the other. They had each other’s back. All the words knew their place and cared about the place of their fellow sentence mates. No dangling participles or misplaced modifiers. There was peace in the independent clause. All the parts were valued, respected, needed. They were at a high place – Capital Peak, we’ll call it. Then some letters from new words started mixing in and the sentence became unstable. The nouns had used up the adjectives, so there was no longer a need for them, so they got ignored. The adverbs had their way with the pronouns, so the challenge was over for them – pronouns dismissed. The sentence was getting fragmented. Misspellings spelled misunderstandings and none of the words were talking – just in a state of “be.”
The poor comma, who was capital letter’s friend (so it began), was thrown all over the place – splicing left and right. It tried to bring peace and communicate that if it could just be heard, the rest of the sentence could come together. There was room for everyone, but the capital letter didn’t want any new words in ITS sentence. The same words it started with were the ONLY words it wanted to deal with. It tried out other fabulous synonyms, but they just crowded its space and hurt the overall sentence fluency, so the capital letter was leery of any newness – proven to be superb word choices or not.
All the comma wanted was its proper place in the sentence’s life. Why was the capital letter being so stubborn? All it had to do was expand the sentence into TWO clauses and allow its friend the conjunction to bring them together. Capital letter wasn’t having it. It didn’t want to open up to any word it didn’t know from previous pages it and its sentence mates had been in. Poor comma THOUGHT it had a place, but quickly comma learned it would never have a place in the capital letter’s sentence. The core sentence was all that was needed, so again, the comma was shut down and sent away rejected and defeated.
The sentence with its grand leader, capital letter, continued to be fragmented until it kicked out all the unnecessary junk (or perceived junk). Then it was back to its original, stale, lifeless clause, and capital letter was happy – for the moment. The grand leader started to miss comma, and decided to find it but comma had moved on to a new sentence.
Every time comma would try to express itself to capital letter, it would be dismissed and ignored. Time would pass and then capital letter would need comma to separate a list or parenthetical phrase, and normally, comma would jump right to it. There was nothing comma wouldn’t have done for capital letter, but this time comma finally understood its place and had to put an end to being misused and undervalued. If capital letter wanted some assistance, it would have to seek it elsewhere. Comma had had enough of capital letter treating it like it was no more than a quick curved line and not really needed for the sentence to make sense. All capital letter had to do was care because that’s all comma tried to do for it.
While comma truly missed the good times it had with capital letter, it was moving on to better sentences who would appreciate its connective spirit. It went on joining sentences all over the world. Comma felt great about itself. Occasionally, it would see capital letter and wish it well, but it let go of the burden of trying so hard to be something to capital that it could never be – connected. Comma’s time was up and it put a period on that sentence.
The Lesson Learned
In the above story, the comma got to a point where it could no longer allow capital letter to use it yet not give its presence any respect or value. Capital took comma for granted because anytime capital wanted something, comma ALWAYS did it. However, comma moved on, albeit hard, it’s what had to be done.
Not that everything you do for others needs to have massive recognition and fanfare, but it is nice when some appreciation is shown. We aren’t entitled to anyone’s benevolence, so be very careful that what was once genuine appreciation doesn’t turn into selfish expectation.
What is your misplaced modifier? Who are your dangling participles? What’s the run-on sentence in your life? PUT A PERIOD ON THAT SENTENCE!