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Transcript of Comma Rules
Many inexperienced writers run two independent clauses together by using a comma instead of a period. This results in the dreaded run-on sentence or, more technically, a comma splice.
He walked all the way home, he shut the door.
There are several simple remedies:
He walked all the way home. He shut the door.
After he walked all the way home, he shut the door.
He walked all the way home, and he shut the door.
In sentences where two independent clauses are joined by connectors such
, etc., put a comma at the end of the first clause.
He walked all the way home and he shut the door.
He walked all the way home, and he shut the door.
Some writers omit the comma if the clauses are both quite short:
I paint and he writes.
Commas and periods are the most frequently used punctuation marks. Commas customarily indicate a brief pause; they're not as final as periods.
Use commas to separate words and word groups in a simple series of three or more items.
My estate goes to my husband, son, daughter-in-law, and nephew.
We had coffee, cheese and crackers and grapes.
Adding a comma after crackers makes it clear that cheese and crackers represents one dish. In cases like this, clarity demands the Oxford comma.
We had coffee, cheese and crackers, and grapes.
Fiction and nonfiction books generally prefer the Oxford comma. Writers must decide Oxford or no Oxford and not switch back and forth, except when omitting the Oxford comma could cause confusion as in the cheese and crackers example.
Why are commas important?
Without commas, your written messages, papers, social media messages, and texts could be misunderstood.
When the last comma in a series comes before and or (after daughter-in-law in the above example), it is known as the Oxford comma. Most newspapers and magazines drop the Oxford comma in a simple series; however, omission of the Oxford comma can sometimes lead to misunderstandings. With this in mind, I want you to include the comma before the last word in a series.
Use a comma to separate two adjectives when the adjectives are interchangeable.
He is a strong, healthy man.
We could also say healthy, strong man.
We stayed at an expensive summer resort.
We would not say summer expensive resort, so no comma.
If the subject does not appear in
front of the second verb, a comma is generally unnecessary.
He thought quickly but still did not answer correctly.
Use a comma after certain words that introduce a sentence, such as well, yes, why, hello, hey, etc.
Why, I can't believe this!
No, you can't have a dollar.
Use commas to set off expressions
that interrupt the sentence flow (nevertheless, after
all, by the way, on the other hand, however, etc.).
I am, by the way, very nervous about this.
Use commas to set off the name, nickname, term of endearment, or title of a person directly addressed.
Will you, Aisha, do that assignment for me?
Yes, old friend, I will.
Good day, Captain.
Use a comma to separate the day of the
month from the year, and—what most people forget!—always put one after the year, also.
It was in the Sun's June 5, 2003, edition.
No comma is necessary for just the month and year.
It was in a June 2003 article.
Use a comma to separate a city from its state, and remember to put one after the state, also.
I'm from the Akron, Ohio, area.
Traditionally, if a person's name is followed
by Sr. or Jr., a comma follows the last name: Martin Luther King, Jr. This comma is no longer considered mandatory; however, if a comma does precede Sr. or Jr., another comma must follow the entire name when it appears mid-sentence.
Al Mooney Sr. is here
Al Mooney, Sr., is here
Al Mooney, Sr. is here
. Similarly, use commas to enclose degrees or titles used with names.
Al Mooney, M.D., is here
When starting a sentence with a dependent
clause, use a comma after it.
If you are not sure about this, let me know now.
But often a comma is unnecessary when the sentence starts with an independent clause followed by a dependent clause.
Let me know now if you are not sure about this.
Use commas to set off nonessential words, clauses, and phrases
Jill who is my sister shut the door.
Jill, who is my sister, shut the door.
The man knowing it was late hurried home.
The man, knowing it was late, hurried home.
The rules in this
Prezi come from the
In the preceding examples, note the comma after sister and late. Nonessential words, clauses, and phrases that occur mid-sentence must be enclosed by commas. The closing comma is called an appositive comma. Many writers forget to add this important comma. Following are two instances of the need for an appositive comma with one or more nouns.
My best friend, Joe arrived
My best friend, Joe, arrived.
The three items, a book, a pen, and paper were on the table.
The three items, a book, a pen, and paper, were on the table.
Use a comma to separate a statement from a question.
I can go, can't I?
Use a comma to separate contrasting parts of a sentence.
That is my money, not yours.
Use a comma before and after certain introductory words or terms, such as namely, that is, i.e., e.g., and for instance, when they are followed by a series of items.
You may be required to bring many items, e.g., sleeping bags, pans, and warm clothing.
Commas should precede the term
and enclose it if it is placed mid-sentence.
Sleeping bags, pans, warm clothing, etc., are in the tent.