If it can, use a comma. When you list your dog’s qualities, you have to use a comma after each quality you list except the one that comes immediately before and. Simultaneous time: The expense of the megaproject, as the government cut taxes, put a strain on the country’s finances. Addresses. ; However, the model is not always accurate. It also has an interactive exercise. In this example, we use a comma … Use a comma after the first independent clause when you link two independent clauses with one of the following coordinating conjunctions: and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet. It's impossible to set specific rules about how to use a comma with one word because that word could be used in a number of instances. John was determined to get the unicorn slime his daughter wanted, but all the shops had sold out. Commas customarily indicate a brief pause; they're not as final as periods. Don’t use a comma before the conjunction when the second clause can’t stand alone. Additionally, commas are used to separate counties and states as well as countries and continents. This page has examples explaining when to use commas before 'which' and 'who' and when to omit commas. Want to improve your English in five minutes a day? Correct: More than 50,000 people turned up to protest. Instead, think about how the reader would consume the sentence. Redefine your inbox with Dictionary.com updates! However, in “delicious chocolate cake,” the word chocolate is a direct modifier of cake. Commas have other users as well, as … Brackets vs. Parentheses: How to Use Them. Incorrect: The rain, and the wind battered the house. Use a comma when an -ly adjective is used with other adjectives. Here are two common issues to watch out for in your writing. share | improve this answer | follow | answered Jun 20 '11 at 2:36. Incorrect: There were no clouds in the sky, I went for a jog. For example, in numbers over 1,000 the comma separates sets of three digits at a time. When a writer quotes a speaker’s words exactly as they were spoken, this is known as direct speech. It should be separated from the independent clause that follows it using a comma: However, it’s normally not necessary to use a comma if the independent clause comes first: For more on this, plus an example of an instance where a comma is required after the independent clause, take a look at Subordinate Clauses and Commas. Note: Using a comma after the next-to-last item in a list is a stylistic choice and may depend on the style guide you’re following. Punctuation Particulars. Place a comma before the and or or that precedes that last element. (They’re coordinating if you could place “and” between them.) A comma (,) But one day, dad explained that the family dog had died. We wish a hard-and-fast rule existed—such as, “Always (or never) use a comma with ‘so’ in a compound sentence.” Instead, you’ll need to do a lot of investigative work. A dependent clause, or subordinate clause, is one that can’t stand alone as a whole sentence. Comma Rule Fourteen. In general, it’s more commonly used in American English than in British English, but you’ll find that opinions vary on both sides of the Atlantic. Normally, you should put a comma between two complete sentences that are joined with a coordinating conjunction (and, or, but, for, nor, so, yet) that creates a single sentence with two independent clauses: Sue didn’t know whether she had enough money in her account to pay for the groceries, so she went to an ATM to check her balance. Rule 1. Commas also separate lists of longer phrases: The dog ran out the front door, through the mud, and dashed out the open gate. They’re a tricky punctuation mark because they’re used in so many different contexts. A comma separates words, not letters. In the second case, that comma is omitted. This refers to whether the use of the word “thus” significantly interrupts the flow of a sentence or is used for emphasis. You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed! Correct: The rain poured down on John and Sue. And, it is often used to create division or to improve the clarity of a sentence. Commas can be used to break up sentences that have more than one clause and make them easier to read. Use a comma to separate dates and addresses. Use a comma to indicate a short pause in a sentence. Do not use a comma before 'which' if you could replace your 'which' with 'that.' We use a comma every third digit from the right. Use commas to separate words and word groups in a simple series of three or more items. The reason for this is that they have so many uses and so many rules—it can be hard to keep track of them all. However, there are nuances regarding when to put a comma between multiple adjectives. (They’re coordinating if you could place “and” between them.) In a street address, commas divide each piece of information. I think I have them sussed and then a sentence comes along where I am doubting everything again. A quick and simple guide to the comma. When to Use a Comma Before 'Because' We are currently experiencing playback issues on Safari. Note that some style guides would not add the comma after the word “eggs”. If the clauses aren’t fully independent, i.e. By . It is perfectly fine to use a comma before and: as seen in, "the dog barked, and the cat ran away." Use commas to separate items in a list. “Nauseated” vs. “Nauseous”: Which One To Use When You’re Feeling Sick. Best summary on commas that I have seen. Use commas to separate three or more words, phrases, or clauses written in a series. Note that the final quotation mark follows the full stop at the end of the direct speech: Steve replied, ‘No problem.’ You also need to use a comma at the end of a piece of direct speech, if the speech comes before the informatio… As a rule of thumb, if the phrase is longer than about four words, use the comma. I used to be a werewolf, but I’m much better naaaoowwwwwww! On the other hand, it might be best to wait until next week. Examples: Well, I’m not going home on foot, at any rate. Incorrect: More than 50000 people turned up to protest. We use a comma to separate an introductory element from the rest of the sentence. You can also use a comma with a shorter phrase when you want to emphasize it or add a pause for literary effect. As well as helping you ensure your writing is correct, this will make you more aware of when you’re not using commas correctly. If you have two independent clauses, you can’t just use a comma to join them. It is possible (but very uncommon) to write such a subordinate clause after the main clause, in which case it makes sense to omit the comma: He doesn’t know how to solve integrals although he is a mathematician. The word can be used as part of a nonrestrictive phrase, restrictive phrase, or prepositional phrase, and it can be used as an interrogative word. You shouldn’t put a comma after the final adjective. What Does “Auld Lang Syne” Actually Mean? By using commas in your lists, each item is perfectly distinguished from the next. Dashes are useful if you want to imply a longer pause, or draw more attention to the nonessential element of the sentence. Because I was late, I had to sit in the back. Rule: Use a comma between two long independent clauses when conjunctions such as and, or, but, for, nor connect them. Use a comma to separate dates and addresses. A list can be simple, as in a series of words: He bought milk, eggs, and bread at the store. But one day dad …, Copyright © 2020 Daily Writing Tips . Example: My estate goes to my husband, son, daughter-in-law, and nephew. Commas to introduce a sentence. Having finally arrived in town, we went shopping. 2 pencil, and several sheets of blank paper to the exam room. Here, “bath” is acting as an adjective to modify “towel”, but it’s not coordinate with “blue”. The comma (,) is a tricky little creature, often peppering texts when an inexperienced author panics about their punctuation. For example: She gave him a soft, comfortable blanket. It’s hard to imagine a world without punctuation marks, but the ancient Greeks themselves struggled to read and write sentences (if you can call them that) without the navigational aid of spaces, punctuation marks, or uppercase and lowercase letters. In British English, though, you should use a comma after the salutation – never a colon – for formal business letters as well as for informal letters. But as the examples and rules here will clarify, a semicolon is used to indicate a more significant break than a comma (but less significant than a period). 2. There are certain grammar rules for when to use a comma with these example phrases and when to leave it out, depending on the context. Semicolon vs. Comma – Difference and Usage. Use commas to separate words and word groups in a simple series of three or more items. Example: My estate goes to my husband, son, daughter-in-law, and nephew. In a list of three or more elements, place a comma after each element. After Certain Words that Introduce a Sentence . This trick works because 'which' without a comma is used to head a defining clause, just like 'that.' You can use a semi-colon, or you can use a conjunction plus a comma. You'll also get three bonus ebooks completely free. Use a comma after every three numbers when a number is bigger than 999 (1,000,000). Unlike when you should use an … Example: While I was eating, the cat scratched at the door. If “thus” does not significantly interrupt the sentence, it is a weak break, and it might not need a comma. For example, you would use a comma in this sentence: “I love to visit Tokyo, Japan.” All Right Reserved, Some writers have very strong feelings for and against the serial comma, 7 Examples of Passive Voice (And How To Fix Them). 3. For example, the address of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10038. Some examples of this are: Content marketing takes time, but it is worth the effort. If you’re finding commas particularly tricky, though, you might want to use an app like ProWritingAid (reviewed here) to help check your writing. However, when there is a restrictive clause (a part of the sentence that adds essential information), you shouldn’t offset it with commas, even when it contains as well as. When to Use a Comma. 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