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 Basic Rules for Correct Comma Usage

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PostSubject: Basic Rules for Correct Comma Usage   Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:50 pm

1. Use commas to separate independent clauses when joined by and, but, for, or, nor, so or yet.

EXAMPLE: The class was almost over, and Tony was thinking about lunch.

2. Use commas after introductory clauses, phrases, or words hat come before a main clause.

EXAMPLE: While I waited by the car, my mom ran in for our pizza.

3. In the middle of a sentence, use a pair of commas to set off words and phrases that are not essential to the sentence's meaning

EXAMPLE: I love watching movies, from love stories to horror flicks, if I'm not too tired.

4. Use commas to separate three or more words, phrases, or clauses written in a series. The comma before the and is optional.

EXAMPLE: Tony, Rob, and Ryan all made the all-star team.

5. Use commas to separate two or more adjectives that describe the same noun.

EXAMPLE: Jody was a lively, fun-loving child.

6. Use commas to set off geographical names, items in dates, addresses, and titles in names.

7. Use a comma to separate a quotation from the rest of the sentence.

Don't go comma-crazy . . .

  • Never use a comma to separate the subject from the verb as in, " The last thing I remember, were the bright lights from an oncoming car." (incorrect)

  • Never put a comma between two verbs or verb phrases in a compound predicate as in, " I jumped into the pool, and immediately sank to the bottom. " (incorrect)

  • Never insert a comma before because as in, " Her brother threw the rake at her, because he thought she was laughing at him. " (incorrect)
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