Do you sometimes wonder where to put a comma and when to leave one out? There are many comma rules but we will just look at four basic comma rules in this teaching.


When in doubt, you leave the comma out!

There are four basic comma uses:

  1. introducer
  2. coordinator
  3. inserter
  4. lists/series

Introducer – After an introductory phrase or clause, place a comma and then an independent clause (complete thought).

1. As soon as I realized I had to write a report every week I decided I should look for a less demanding class.

2. While you were looking for a placement in the Globe I was searching the net.

3. Afterwards lets get together and talk about it.

Coordinator – Use between two independent clauses, and always use a conjunction* to join them. [*and, but, or, nor, yet, so, for]

1. The class is hungry so we’ll order a pizza

2. The elephant was on a diet but he did not keep an exercise routine

3. Tarlton rose his shiny face to the sun and he roared a mighty lion roar.

Inserter – A pair of commas, like this, go around any inserted word or remark.

1. I wish you Samuel would start baking for the sale.

2. Judson a talented songwriter has offered to write our jingle.

3. Toby the copper coloured fish swam through the thick weeds.

Lists, series – Separate items in a list: one, two, three.

1. Required subjects in business are as follows: Book-keeping Marketing English.

2. I like cats dogs birds and some people.

3. These things are needed for Haiti: water food shelter tools medicine and people willing to help.

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