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Comma Rules

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Angelina Valvona

on 3 December 2013

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Transcript of Comma Rules

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

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.
We stayed at an expensive summer resort.
(You would not say expensive and summer resort, so no comma.)

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

Will you, Aisha, do that assignment for me?
Yes, Doctor, I will.
NOTE: Capitalize a title when directly addressing someone.

Comma Rule #4a and 4b (Date Rule)
Rule 4a
Use a comma to
separate the day of the month from the year

and after the year

Kathleen met her husband on December 5, 2003, in Mill Valley, California.

Rule 4b
If any part of the date is omitted, leave out the comma.

They met in December 2003 in Mill Valley.

That's All Folks
Comma Rule #5 (City, State Rule)
Use a comma to
separate the city from the state
and after the state
in a document.

I lived in San Francisco, California, for 20 years.

Comma Rule #6 (Interrupting Expression Rule)
Use commas to
set off expressions that interrupt sentence flow

I am, as you have probably noticed, very nervous about this.

Comma Rule #7 (Prepositional Phrase Rule)
Use a comma
after a prepositional phrase

To apply for this job, you must have previous experience.
On February 14, many couples give each other candy or flowers.

Comma Rule #8 (Nonessential Rule)
something or someone is sufficiently identified, the description following it is considered nonessential
and should be surrounded by commas.

Freddy, 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.)

Comma Rule #9 (FANBOYS Rule)
Use a comma to
separate two strong clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction
for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so

I have painted the entire house, but he is still working on sanding the doors.
I paint and he writes.

Comma Rule #10 (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?"

Comma Rule #11 (Statement/Question Rule)
Use a comma to
separate a statement from a question

I can go, can't I?

Comma Rule #12 (Contrasting Parts Rule)
Use a comma to
separate contrasting parts
of a sentence.

That is my money, not yours.

Comma Rule #13 (Introductory Word Rule)
Rule 13
Use a comma when
beginning sentences with introductory words
such as well, now, or yes.
I do need that report.
I never thought I'd live to see the day…

Comma Rule #14 (Introductory Words as Interrupters Rule)
Rule 14
Use commas surrounding words such as
when they are used as
I would
, therefore,
like a response.
I would be happy
, however,
to volunteer for the Red Cross.

Comma Rule #15 (Introductory Words with a Series Rule)
Rule 15
Use either a
comma or a semicolon before introductory words
such as namely, that is, i.e., for example, e.g., or for instance
when they are followed by a series of items.

Use a comma after the introductory word.
You may be required to bring many items
, e.g.,
sleeping bags, pans, and warm clothing.
You may be required to bring many items
; e.g.,
sleeping bags, pans, and warm clothing.
NOTE: i.e. means that is; e.g. means for example

Examples of introductory words: after, although, as, because, before since, , if, though, until, when
Rule #16 Dependent Clause Rule
Rule #17 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

Example of introductory clause (comma needed):
Once you retake a course you have previously failed
, the new passing grade will replace the failing grade.

Example of ending clause (no comma needed):
The new passing grade will replace the failing one
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.
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