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A presentation for English II about how and when to use commas.

Susan Kent

on 11 October 2012

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Transcript of Commas!

A comma is a punctuation mark, used especially as a mark of separation within a sentence.

Purpose: to keep readers clear on sentence structure and meaning
(e.g., "Eat, Grandpa!" or "Eat Grandpa!")

Tip: pay attention to whether a clause is dependent or independent; dependent clauses do not use commas to separate them. Major Uses of the Comma: Separating Independent Clauses

An Independent clause is a phrase that can be used alone as a sentence.

Sometimes if the two clauses are short flow together well, the comma may be omitted.

Hollins College is good at lacrosse, but Randolph College is better! Coordinating Conjunctions: FANBOYS (for, and, not, but, or, yet, so)

-Place a comma before a coordinating conjunction when it joins two or more independent clauses unless the clauses are very short.

Example: All of my friends hated the movie, but I thought that it was amazing. Why does this sentence require a comma?
Bill went to the park, and walked his dog. Introductory Word Groups and Phrases

-Place a comma after the introductory clause.
-Tells the reader that the main part of the sentence is to follow.

Introductory word:
Actually, Finally, First, Next, Second, However, etc.

Example Sentence:
Actually, Mrs. Smith is a great teacher!

Introductory phrase Example:
Although Mary told her son to be careful, he dropped an open cup of milk on the floor. To Separate Multiple Items in a Series

Place a comma in between multiple items in a series if there are three or more items in the series.

Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, and Gatorade are all beverages served in the dining hall.

Gage is wearing a polo, jeans and fresh kicks. Coordinating Adjectives NOT Joined by "and"

Coordinating adjectives are those that can be connected by the word "and."
If two or more coordinating adjectives are consecutive, they need to be connected by commas.

My house is a small, cozy place. Hint: Say the adjectives out loud with "and" in between them. If it works grammatically, then the adjectives are coordinating and a comma is needed. Adjective Clauses

An Adjective clause is a description in between clauses to further inform.

Begins with where, when, who, whom, whose, which, that

Place a comma before and after the adjective clauses

The baby, who was born three months premature, has many illnesses. To Separate a Turn or Contrast in the Sentence

The snow was beautiful outside, but it was too cold to leave the house. Setting of Nonrestrictive Clauses

Restrictive clauses limit the possible meaning of a preceding subject

Nonrestrictive clauses tell you something about a preceding subject but they do not limit the meaning of the subject

To drive a car one needs a driver’s license, which can be obtained at the DMV. In Use with Nouns, Yes, No, and Interjections

No, I will not go to the dance with you.
This class is hard, isn’t it? Setting off Transitional and Parenthetical Expressions, Absolute Phrases, and Contrasted Elements

Jim did not know how to bake cookies with chocolate chips, however they were still delicious.

Sara, unlike Jim, knows how to bake cookies with chocolate chips. Expressions like “he said”

Use commas with expressions such as "he said" to set off direct quotations

He said, “Today looks like it will be a good day.” Dates How would you write your birthday in the context of a sentence correctly with commas? Month Day, Year

October 10, 2010 is my birthday. Addresses, Cities, States How would you write your address in the context of a sentence correctly with commas? Examples:
My address is 812 Main Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19101.
She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Numbers
Make sure to place commas in numbers greater
than three digits.

45,000,000 Quotations

If a quotation is inside a sentence, place it before the first quotation mark.
If a quotation ends before the sentence has ended, place a comma before the closing quatation mark.

Albert Einstein said, “E=MC2,” and he was right, I think.
(This demonstrates both) Remember to focus when placing commas because they can be easily misplaced. It is easy to add commas excessively or not enough. Some websites with good information/practice on commas

http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/commas.html Confusion

Use commas to prevent confusion

I like cheese, pizza, and rice.
If there was no comma between “cheese” and “pizza” the meaning would change to “cheese pizza” instead of “cheese and pizza”
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