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Should I use a comma here?

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Alyssa Wright

on 30 June 2014

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Transcript of Should I use a comma here?

Should I use a comma here?
Knowing where to use a comma correctly can be confusing,
but following a few rules and tips may help.
Introductory Elements
Use commas after introductory
a) clauses, b) phrases, or c) words that come before the main clause.
Essential Elements
DO NOT use commas to set off essential elements, such as clauses beginning with "that."

"That" clauses after nouns are always essential .
A series
Use commas to separate three or more words, phrases, or clauses written in a series.
Works cited
Ramage, John D., Bean, John C., Johnson, June, The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing. Boston: Pearson, 2012. Print.



How to use commas in...
Compound sentences
after Introductory Elements
with Dependent Phrases and Clauses
around Non-Essential Elements
in a Series
with Adjectives
A compound sentence contains two independent clauses joined by a coordinator.

The coordinators are as follows: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
The game was over, but the crowd refused to leave.
Yesterday was her brother's birthday, so she took him to dinner.

A comma should be placed before the coordinator.
a) clauses:
Common starter words for introductory clauses that should be followed by a comma include: after, although, as, because, if, since, when, while.
While I was eating, the cat scratched at the door.
Because her alarm clock was broken, she was late for class.
The game was over, but the crowd refused to leave.

The game was over. The crowd refused to leave.
b) phrases:
An introductory phrase is like a clause, but it doesn’t have its own subject and verb; it relies on the subject and verb in the main clause.
However, don't put a comma after the main clause when a dependent clause follows it.

INCORRECT: The cat scratched at the door, while I was eating.
Having finished the test, he left the room.

To get a seat, you'd better come early.
c) words:
Common introductory words that should be followed by a comma include: yes, however, well.
Yes, the package should be arriving tomorrow.
However, you are not alone.
Commas with Dependent Clauses

A dependent clause does not represent a complete thought.
It cannot stand alone as a sentence.

Dependent clause: If we work hard at this
Independent clause: we can succeed

If we work hard at this, we can succeed.
Around Non-Essential Elements
Use a pair of commas in the middle of a sentence to set off clauses, phrases, and words that are not essential to the meaning of the sentence.
Clues to help you decide if a sentence element is essential:
If you leave it out does the sentence still make sense?
Does it interrupt the flow of words in the original sentence?
If you move the element to a different position of the sentence, does it still make sense?
If you answer "yes" to one or more of these questions, then the element in question is non-essential and should be set off with commas.
Clause: That Tuesday, which happens to be my birthday, is the only day when I'm available to meet.

Phrase: This restaurant has an exciting atmosphere. The food, on the other hand, is rather bland.

Word: I appreciate your hard work. In this case, however, you seem to have overexerted yourself.
The book that I borrowed from you was excellent.
She believes that she will earn an A.
The Constitution establishes the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.

The candidate promised to lower taxes, protect the environment, reduce crime, and end unemployment.

The prosecutor argued that the defendant, who was at the scene of the crime, who had a strong revenge motive, and who had access to the murder weapon, was guilty of homicide.
Do not use a comma between
two independent clauses.
Comma Splice

Entrepreneurship is the study of small businesses, college students are embracing it enthusiastically.
We can fix this by using a semicolon to separate the two independent clauses, or we can add a coordinator.
Entrepreneurship is the study of small businesses; college students are embracing it enthusiastically.

Entrepreneurship is the study of small businesses, and college students are embracing it enthusiastically.
Quick references:
Purdue Owl
Allyn & Bacon pages 693-700

with Adjectives
Use commas to set off two or more coordinate adjectives that describe the same noun.
Does the sentence make sense if ...
the adjectives are written in reverse order?
if the adjectives are written with "and" between them?
If "yes" then the adjectives should be separated with a coma.
He was a difficult, stubborn child.

They lived in a white frame house.
Comma Splices
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