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Grammar Basics #6: Not Just Sentence Decoration: Using Commas
Transcript of Grammar Basics #6: Not Just Sentence Decoration: Using Commas
By SL. Kaley Keene
Commas to Introduce
Think of the pause after you say someone's name before a command. Ex. "Beauregard, stop jumping on the couch!"
When commas are used to introduce, they come after a word, a phrase, or a dependent clause that is introducing an independent clause.
Names and/or groups of people- "Students, you all light up my day!" "Men, we attack at midnight!"
Transitional Words- "I love animals. Therefore, I want to become a veterinarian."
After phrases- "Ridiculed by her peers, Belle transferred schools."
"For twenty years, Mr. Reynolds kept a vow of silence."
"With her friend, she broke into the school after hours."
Commas to Help Connect Independent Clauses
A comma alone cannot withstand the power of two independent clauses. If you try to use a comma, you will create a comma splice error. However, using them as a team is a different story.
You can use them with either coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS) or with a semi colon and a transitional word or phrase.
Dependent Clauses- "Before Tom could propose, he had to know if Samantha loved him as much as he loved her."
With a coordinating conjunction- "Emily was a strong swimmer, but her recent injury prevented her from joining her school's swim team."
With a semi colon and a transitional word- "Michael loves martial arts; however, he doesn't get to practice much because he has to get his GPA up.
Commas to Separate
A comma can be used to separate like items from each other and restrictive/non-essential phrases, clauses, or appositives from the clause it is interrupting.
To separate like items- "I can dance, sing, and act."
To separate adj's that are describing the same noun or pronoun- "The happy, friendly dog jumped on the bed."
Commas used to separate interrupters- "Sally, for instance, hates key lime pie."
To separate restrictive/non-essential elements- "My cat, Misha, has an oral personality." "Tabitha, depressed after a tragic break-up, slept in bed for two days straight." "My best friend, who has no shame, doesn't mind dancing in front of strangers."
"An appositive is a noun or noun phrase that renames another noun right beside it. The appositive can be a short or long combination of words. Look at these examples:
The insect, a cockroach, is crawling across the kitchen table.
The insect, a large, hairy-legged cockroach that has spied my bowl of oatmeal, is crawling across the kitchen table." -- chompchomp.com
One correction of
The Big Bang Theory
's use of commas:
When Sheldon says "There is ominous music playing and there's an afghan over my head." it should read "There is ominous music playing
and there is an afghan over my head." because the second clause is an independent clause, and commas are used with coordinating conjunctions to connect two independent clauses.
This video is to help you both see and hear the use of commas in speech and in writing.