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Comma Rules (edited)

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Angelina Valvona

on 21 March 2016

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Transcript of Comma Rules (edited)

Comma Rules
Comma Rule #1 (Series Rule)
To avoid confusion, use commas to separate words and word groups with a series of three or more.

I need bananas, cheese, and milk from the grocery store.
My sister always borrows my Ipod, my headphones, and my clothes.
My $10 million estate is to be split among my husband, daughter, son, and nephew.
(Omitting the comma after son would indicate that the son and nephew would have to split one-third of the estate.)
Comma Rule #2 (Adjectives Rule)
Use a comma to separate two adjectives when the word "and" can be inserted between them.

He is a strong, healthy man.
He is a strong and healthy man.
She is a beautiful, loyal dog.
She is a beautiful and loyal dog.
We stayed at an expensive summer resort. (This sentence does not use a comma.)
(You would not say expensive and summer resort, so no comma.)

Comma Rule #3 (Directly Talking To Rule)
Use commas before, after, or surrounding the name or title of a person directly addressed.

Go wash my car, Jessica. (name at end)
Mom, may I eat at Matt's house tonight? (name at beginning)
Will you, Aisha, do this assignment for me? (name in middle)
Yes, Doctor, I will. (title in middle)
(NOTE: Capitalize a title when directly addressing someone.)

Comma Rule #4a and b (Date Rule/City,State Rule)
Use commas to set off all geographical names, items in dates (except the month and day), addresses (except the street number and name), and titles in names.

I start school on August 20, 2013.
July 22, 1959, was a momentous day in his life.
Kathleen met her husband on December 5, 2003, in Mill Valley, California.
(When you use just the month and the year, no comma is necessary after the month or year: "The average temperatures for July 1998 are the highest on record for that month.")
That's All Folks
Comma Rule #5 (Interrupting Expression Rule)
Use commas to set off expressions that interrupt sentence flow.

my bad
, I didn't realize you were there.
pain in the butt
, presentation makes me nervous.
across the board
, are amazing.
I am,
as you have probably noticed
, very nervous about this.
This issue,
as luck would have it
, brings a challenge to our school.

Comma Rule #7 (Prepositional Phrase Rule)
For sentences
beginning with
a prepositional phrase, the comma goes after the prepositional phrase.

Prepositional phrases add meaning to nouns and verbs. A preposition shows how a noun (person, place, thing, or idea) or a pronoun (I, he, she, it, we, they, me you, etc.) is related to another word in the sentence.


apply for this line cook position
, you must have previous experience.
You must have previous experience to apply for this line cook position. (A comma is not used because the prepositional phrase is at the end.)

Valentine's Day
, many couples give each other candy or flowers.
Many couples give each other candy or flowers on Valentines' Day. (No comma)

Comma Rule #6 (Nonessential Rule)
If something or someone is sufficiently identified, the description following it is considered nonessential and should be surrounded by commas.

who has a limp
, was in an auto accident.
(Freddy is named, so the description is not essential.)
The boy
who has a limp
was in an auto accident.
(We do not know which boy is being referred to without further description; therefore, no commas are used.)
That 2014 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500,
with the pinstripes
, is mine.
(The 2014 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is named, so the description is not essential.)
That new car
with the pinstripes
is mine.
(We do not know which car is being referred to without further description.)
Comma Rule #8 (FANBOYS Rule)
Use a comma to separate two strong clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction--for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

I went to school
, yet
I left early
I took my parent's car
, so
they grounded me
I really care about my girlfriend
, so
I decided to tell her I love her
. (Awwww...)
I have painted the entire house
, but
he is still working on sanding the doors

Comma Rule #9 (Direct Quotations Rule)
Use commas to introduce or interrupt direct quotations shorter than three lines.

He actually said, "I do not care."
"Why," I asked, "do you always forget to do it?"
"Why do you always forget to take out the trash?" I asked.
Comma Rule #10a,b,c. (Introductory Word/Phrase Rules)
a. Use a comma when beginning sentences with introductory words such as well, now, or yes.

Yes, I do need that report.
Well, I never thought I'd live to see the day…
Examples of introductory words: after, although, as, because, before, since, if, though, until, when
Rule #11 Dependent Clause Rule
Rule #12 Mild Interjection Rule
Commas set off mild interjections that begin a sentence.

Oh my gosh, I didn’t know that he had dropped out of the program.
Yikes, why did you do that?

When using a dependent clause, a comma should separate the dependent clause from the independent clause
only if the dependent clause is placed at the beginning or middle of the sentence

Examples of introductory clauses (comma needed):
Since my mom went to the store for groceries, I hope she will return with food I want.
Once you retake a course you have previously failed, the new passing grade will replace the failing one towards your cumulative GPA.

Examples of ending clauses (no comma needed):
I hope she will return with food I want since she went to the store for groceries.
The new passing grade will replace the failing one towards your cumulative GPA once you retake a course you have previously failed.
**Note that many dependent clauses will use the words if, because, since, once, as, in order to.
I grew up near Detroit, Michigan.
Birmingham, Alabama, gets its name from Birmingham, England.
I lived in San Francisco, California, for 20 years.
Who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC?
b. Use either a comma or a semicolon before introductory words such as namely, that is, for example, or for instance, when they are followed by a series of items. Then use a comma after the introductory word.

You may be required to bring many items, for example, sleeping bags, pans, and warm clothing.
c. Use commas surrounding words such as therefore and however, when they are used as interrupters.

I would, therefore, like a response.
I would be happy, however, to volunteer for the Red Cross.
Rachel B. Lake, MD, will be the principal speaker.
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