Using Commas

COMMA

When in doubt, you leave the comma out! Do NOT put a comma just anywhere. They should be placed within sentences for specific reasons. There are many common uses of the comma such as in a date or within a large number. I am only going to include four basic comma types in this blog.

There are four basic comma uses: Please note that the rule gives an example of what it is defining.

  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). Yes – after in introductory word such as a transitional word, place a comma. Here is a list of transitional words: however, therefore, consequently, nevertheless, likewise, besides, also, then, furthermore, in fact, for example etc.

Practice: Put in commas where necessary.

  1. As soon as it started to rain I reached for my umbrella.
  1. Although you are an excellent badminton player you could improve your backhand.

Coordinator – Use between two independent clauses, and always use a conjunction* to join them. [*and, but, or, nor, yet, so, for] Yes – that is right: Create one independent clause and join it to another independent clause using a comma preceding a conjunction.

  1. The books are expensive so we should take good care of them.
  1. The mouse was an excellent student but he could not tap dance very well.

Inserter – A pair of commas, like this, go around any inserted word or remark. You insert a word or phrase into the middle of an already complete sentence – this is an insertion into the sentence. Put a pair of commas around the inserted word or remark.

  1. I wish you Brendan would start writing your essay.
  1. Mary-Beth a talented artist is giving an exhibit of her work at the local gallery.

Lists, series – Separate items in a list: one, two, and three. As you can see, and probably already are used to using, commas go in-between items in a list. You do NOT have to put a comma before the last item before and BUT if you do you must be consistent within the document. If you leave it out, you must be consistent within the document.

  1. Required skills for the job include the following: hon.  B.A. or higher teaching experience volunteer experience and good references.
  1. I am collecting canned goods extra blankets used furniture and dish-ware for our bazaar.

For more help with commas, you can go to the following: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/607/02/ or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comma

There are many good handbooks I could recommend. I do highly recommend that you purchase a handbook and keep it throughout your school years and even afterwards. It is essential to know where to find the information you need when you need it.

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