1. Use commas to separate items in a list. For example: She went to the store and bought apples, oranges, and bananas.
2. Use a comma followed by a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) to connect two independent clauses. For example: She was tired, but she went to the store anyway.
3. Use commas to set off nonessential phrases or clauses. For example: Tara, who is my neighbor, is going on vacation.
4. Use commas to set off introductory words, phrases, or clauses. For example: Walking down the street, I saw my old friend.
5. Use commas to separate quoted words and phrases. For example: He said, “I’m going to the store.”
6. Use commas after words or phrases interrupting the flow of a sentence. For example: After much thought, he finally decided to go.
7. Use a comma to separate two or more adjectives modifying the same noun. For example: She is a tall, gorgeous, and confident woman.
8. Use a comma after conjunctive adverbs, such as however and therefore. For example: She was tired; however, she went to the store anyway.
What are common comma mistakes?
Comma mistakes are quite common, but easily avoided with a bit of practice. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when using commas:
1. Using a comma between a subject and a verb:
This is a very common mistake. People often insert a comma between the subject of the sentence and the verb. As a rule, you should not use a comma in that situation.
2. Leaving out a comma in a compound sentence:
A compound sentence is a sentence composed of two or more independent clauses. When two independent clauses are combined with a conjunction (such as for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so), a comma should be used before the conjunction.
3. Misusing commas to separate items in a list:
Commas are used to separate items in a list. However, when the list includes only two items, the comma should be replaced with “and” or “or” depending on the context.
4. Using too many commas to separate the elements in a sentence:
Commas are used to separate elements in a sentence, but not excessively. It is considered poor style to use too many commas in one sentence to create long, cumbersome sentences.
5. Omitting a comma after an introductory phrase:
If a sentence begins with an introductory phrase or clause, a comma should always be placed after that phrase or clause. This helps to create clarity and makes the sentence easier to understand.
How many comma rules are there in English?
And so there isn’t just one set number when it comes to how many such rules exist. Generally speaking, the use of commas can be broken down into five distinct categories: (1) to separate items in a list, (2) to separate a direct address, (3) to separate two independent clauses, (4) to set off nonessential elements, and (5) to separate coordinating conjunctions.
Additionally, commas can sometimes be used to indicate clarification or an intensifier, to pair adjectives, to indicate a pause, or to separate out items in a date or address. It can also be helpful to remember to always put a comma after statements introducing a quotation or dialogue.
When it comes to the actual number of comma rules, it’s difficult to provide an exact estimate, as there can be various exceptions and nuances to each rule and sometimes individual sentence structures can factor into the need for a comma.
When should a comma not be used?
A comma should not be used when the phrases it separates are not independent clauses. This is because a comma should only be used to separate two or more independent clauses or to create a natural pause in a sentence.
For example, instead of writing “I painted the fence red and I water the flowers,” you would need to use a semicolon instead because the two parts of the sentence are not independent of one another. Similarly, a comma should not be used to separate words in a list unless each of the items in the list are independent clauses.
For example, instead of writing “I bought apples, oranges, and pears,” it needs to be written as “I bought apples, oranges and pears. “.
Do I need a comma before and?
It depends. A comma should generally precede and when it is connecting two independent clauses. For example, “I went to the store, and I bought some milk. ” In this sentence, the comma before and is necessary because the two parts of the sentence can stand on their own.
However, if the two clauses being connected with and are dependent, a comma should not be used. For example, “I went to the store and bought some milk. ” Here, the two parts are dependent on each other, so a comma would not be necessary.