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Or is it amok? There are two ways to spell it, and both are perfectly acceptable and right. But put two Comma Girls in the same room, and, well, let’s just say someone’s getting hit over the head with a stylebook (ah, but which one or even type? It can be confusing).

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t be scared. Few people do, but regardless (or irregardless. I dare you to say THAT word near a college campus or hipster café), people are writing all the time, whether (weather?) they want to or not. We all have that co-worker, friend or relative who simply no longer answers the phone, forcing word-shy people to text and email. Then there’s online dating—everyone is suddenly tasked to look awesome in a selfie AND in writing. Yikes!

Suddenly, everyone is writing all of the time and not sure if they’re (their?) doing it right. I think it’s (its?) how I felt when I found out fractions and percentages were connected—terrified and liberated, but annoyed because now I had to learn something else I apparently missed in grade school.

Before status updates, how many people thought about words? Talk is cheap until it’s in writing. Electronic words are forever—and so magically magnetic. Who wants to be misunderstood based on a misplaced word or abuse of punctuation? Suddenly, we’re all a little self-conscious (or conscience?) about our dangling participles.

The wrong words can be really confusing, and that’s the last thing you want for any kind of communication. Example. I just saw this top-shelf band at the Borgata’s Gypsy Bar. My musician husband bee-lined to chat with the duo between sets; he was so impressed, as was everyone in the packed, elegantly-funky space. People danced, women drooled. They had it all going on.

Except their name. Barely Really. Or was it Bearly Rarely? It’s a band! The spelling/play on words could be anything. Or or….maybe my husband heard it wrong. When I wanted to find them on Twitter, give them a shout-out, remember them for my almost-ready Atlantic City blog…I almost couldn’t find them. There are quite a few ways to spell and Google “Barely Rarely.” (But worth the search—check them out.)

I’m sure there’s a story behind that name, and just as I became a Kevin Meany expert (long story), I’ll probably find out why these spelling tricksters picked a tongue twister for their branding.

Oh. I forgot to mention all the rules I broke. I will tell you next time, otherwise I’ll end up breaking another. Happy writing.

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