Zen Comma


Commas are confusing. Unlike other types of punctuation, they are used in many ways. If you want to write clearly and professionally, you need to use commas correctly. Zen Comma will show you how.

Zen Comma uses examples, instructions, and anecdotes to teach you the 14 major uses for commas and the most common errors. It also contains exercises to help pinpoint the comma rules you need to learn. Each chapter begins with correct examples, explains the rules for correct usage, covers common errors, and discusses special considerations so you can use commas correctly, intelligently, and conscientiously.

The various koans interspersed throughout the chapters are intended to help you “meditate” on comma concepts. When you understand these koans, you will be able to apply their concepts to your own writing.

Commas in Series
Commas when Joining Sentences
Commas after Introductory Descriptions
Commas with Interjections
Commas with Appositives
Commas with Side Comments
Commas with Names
Commas with Therefore, Too, and Other Conjunctive Adverbs
Commas with Adjective Pairs

Commas with Which and Who
Commas with Final Descriptions
Commas with Parenthetical Expressions and Absolute Phrases
Commas with Dates, Addresses, Ages, and Titles
Commas with Quotations
Commas with Either…Or and Other Correlative Pairs
Commas between Subjects and Predicates
Commas between Compound Predicates

PURCHASE Information and Reviews

BUY: Print version, $5.95

BUY: PDF version, $2.99

BUY: Kindle Version, $2.99

BUY: iBooks Version, $2.99

Book Details

Print version:
Pages: 84 pages
Publisher: Write Well Publishing
ISBN: 978-0988507845
Format: Permabound, 5 1/4″ x 8″

Other Formats:
PDF, Kindle, iBooks


Book Reviews

Tim Martinez (Amazon Reviewer)
Zen Comma is a quick and excellent way to review comma usage. Each chapter is short and focuses on different ways a comma is used, such as commas with appositives and commas with adjective pairs. One of the strengths of the book is its illustration of incorrect usage because it allows you to differentiate between right and wrong. There is also a summary of the rules at the very end if you’re looking for a quick refresher in one place. I found the Koans to be unnecessary and a little confusing at times, but they did not detract from the overall effectiveness of the book. I keep the book on a Kindle and iPad (via Kindle), so I’m able to refer to it when necessary. Overall, it’s a great resource that any casual writer should have.

Meg Llegiu (Amazon Reviewer)
I was looking for a quick, to-the-point review on comma usage and found it in this little e-book. It seems to be best suited for those looking to review basics for technical and business writing; the rules may be a bit rigid for fiction writing. But, as we all know, while it’s good to be aware of the rules, rules are begging to be broken.

Oliver Lawrence (Amazon Reviewer)
As a professional linguist, I am delighted that there is a book that gives the subject of commas its rightful importance. Zen Comma is well-organised, visually clean and attractive, consistent, comprehensive and clearly explained. It takes a cheerful and straightforward approach that may be especially suitable for pedagogical applications. And its few defects (writers aspiring to a more advanced style may occasionally find it rigid; some matters of taste are presented as issues of right/wrong; and the blanket use of the serial comma has no real consensus and can actually be incorrect, as in “I love my father, Elvis, and God,” suggesting that Elvis is my father) are outweighed by its many benefits.

Tori Schindler (Amazon Reviewer)
There are several things I enjoyed about this book. First, it’s short and simple. This is a book on the purpose of commas, and how the correct and incorrect placement can change the entire meaning of a sentence. Second, the author gives examples of not only correct usage, but also incorrect usage, for each rule and clear explanations why each is right or wrong. Third, the book is arranged to easily find a rule again to reference when needed. And lastly, I find it very useful that he discusses different style rules (like AP, Oxford, and Harvard) which is important for writers to know. It’s a valuable reference for teachers and writers. For writers without a degree in English, this may be one of the easier ways for you to master the mysteries of commas.

Simone (Amazon.de Reviewer)
It’s not difficult to find a book on English grammar, but it’s quite a challenge to find one that deals with commas – exclusively. David Bowman has filled this void with his “Zen Comma”. In 17 chapters, he explains all the fundamental rules, provides examples, and points out the traps that unskilled comma users might step into. While I consider myself to be “in the know” when it comes to commas, it’s still very useful to have this little guide on my shelf. Commas can be mean little bitches if you do not know how to handle them. :-) 5 stars well deserved.

C. Ullmann (Amazon Reviewer)
Bowman divides his text into 17 short chapters of one or two pages each. Each chapter focuses on a different use of the comma, including the much-misunderstood serial comma (Chapter 1), commas with appositives (Chapter 5), and commas with which and who (Chapter 10). A Zen theme runs throughout the book, largely hinged on Koans, or meditative points on comma usage. The Koans provide a different way for the reader to think about the material presented and the author explains each Koan in depth at the end of the ebook.

Thirty-five comma exercises (and an answer key) are available for those who want to test their understanding of the material. Bowman also provides a two-page summary of comma rules, which will come in handy for those who understand the material and just need a little reminder.

…Whether you read it front to back or dip in quickly for a how-to reference, Zen Comma is user-friendly, accessible, affordable grammar resource.