My first speaking gig of the year happened January 2, 2018, when I presented a 90-minute workshop to the Sarasota Fiction Writers, at Selby Library. “Comma Common Sense” featured two quizzes; here’s the first one.
There’s no doubt that commas are advanced. No, you don’t put a comma in every time you “pause.” There are specific rules about commas. The good news is that once you learn the rules, things really fall into place.
A word about speaking on January 2. Don’t. It’s not as much the audience—we had a great turnout and very smart people—as it is you. I don’t care how prepared you are, the time it takes to really prepare will totally chew into your holiday plans.
Comma Common Sense: An Advanced Editing Workshop
Presenter: Liz Coursen
Host: Sarasota Fiction Writers
January 2, 2018
21-Sentence Quiz I
If you see a misplaced or missing comma in these sentences please make a note. There may be other mistakes as well.

  1. “I just hate it when I have to work on a holiday”, she said.
  2. To win the contract Liz knew she’d need a sharp pencil.
  3. Liz knew she’d need a sharp pencil to win the contract.
  4. Retreat days are full and group activities often continue into the evening hours.
  5. By clicking “Place Bid ” I agree to this auction’s Terms and Conditions.
  6. When you call Pacific 54, you call Miami, not an outsourced rep in Singapore, or India.
  7. Your presentation was a major contributor to the success of our event and I am so grateful that you were able to share some of your editing expertise with our members and guests.
  8. Your offer of assistance is appreciated, however we do have a number of volunteer educators/editors we can tap already for a website audit.
  9. We have offices in New York, Palm Beach, Naples, FL, Chicago, and Birmingham, Michigan.
  10. The top culprits are death of loved one, childhood trauma, divorce, finances, poor health and personal relationships.
  11. The Scottish Terrier popularly called the Scottie, is a breed of dog.
  12. You can buy his new book, “Suncoast Empire: Bertha Honore Palmer, Her Family, and the Rise of Sarasota” and he’ll personally sign it.
  13. Eric’s expertise, as can be seen on his website, are in the areas leadership development, productivity, and the effect of major technology trends, such as big data, cloud computing, mobility, and social media on professional growth and career development.
  14. That’s exactly what JuliAnn Stitick, Personal Brand Expert will do for your next event.
  15. Karen and Henry Kimsey-House, the coauthors of the bestselling book Co-Active Coaching have just published another ground breaking book Co-Active Leadership, Five Ways to Lead.
  16. TSE is proud to welcome Sarasota’s Largest networking event, Marketing on Main to the Ritz Carlton of Sarasota on August 30th starting at 5:30 PM!
  17. Joseph’s other titles include Leading The Starbucks Way, The Zappos Experience, Prescription for Excellence, The Starbucks Experience, The New Gold Standard, and When Fish Fly which was co-authored with the owner of the “World Famous” Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle.
  18. If you know of BNI Members who don’t have electricity or internet please let them know of this service.
  19. After a delicious nutritious breakfast we’ll dig into the brilliance of your unique personal brand strategy and development and integrate it into your existing marketing plan, product development, speaking platform and digital presence.
  20. My cousins, Tom, Dick, and Harry, were late to the party.


Liz Coursen is an award-winning 13-time author and editor in Sarasota, Florida. She is the author of 10 books about American English punctuation and grammar, and has lectured about American English business writing best practices as far away as India.