Correct: The rain poured down on John and Sue. Rule 4: If a Sentence Begins With a Dependent Clause, Use a Comma After It If a sentence begins with an introductory phrase or dependent clause , it should have a comma immediately after it. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. They’re also useful if you have several other commas in the sentence, to help avoid confusion. You can also use a comma with a shorter phrase when you want to emphasize it or add a pause for literary effect. Overall, these nonrestrictive clauses basically just add extra information to a sentence. (Two exceptions are writing years and house numbers.) There are some cases where you know you should use a comma – such as when separating items in a list – but there are other times when you might be unsure whether or not a comma is needed. Ultimately, it’s up to you (and your editor!) So yes, while we may complain about learning the rules of grammar, we should all admit reading is much easier with a guide like a comma to show the way. You should always put a comma immediately before a quotation: John Smith told us, “You can’t come in after ten o’clock.”. Use commas between multiple adjectives. For example, in numbers over 1,000 the comma separates sets of three digits at a time. For more on coordinate and non-coordinate adjectives, check out this post. There was a time in my life when hanging out with the cool kids was just a dream. After Certain Words that Introduce a Sentence . “Indica” vs. “Sativa”: There Is A Difference. 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. According to the Oxford Style Manual approach to grammar, adjectives are … They’re a tricky punctuation mark because they’re used in so many different contexts. Often, reading a sentence aloud can help you decide which punctuation mark is more appropriate. Example: My estate goes to my husband, son, daughter-in-law, and nephew. Here we focus on one of two specific situations that call for the use of a comma before and: (1) The Comma before and in Lists of Three or More Items. Informal or personal correspondence uses a comma in place of this colon. When an adverbial phrase begins a sentence, it’s often followed by a comma but it doesn’t have to be, especially if it’s short. Commas to introduce a sentence. Learn about the right way to start and sign off that birthday card to grandma! It also has an interactive exercise. However, we do use a comma for the above when it’s written as an appositive. Use commas before every sequence of three numbers when writing a number larger than 999. This refers to whether the use of the word “thus” significantly interrupts the flow of a sentence or is used for emphasis. However, in “delicious chocolate cake,” the word chocolate is a direct modifier of cake. Listen . But, one day, dad … Use commas to separate words and word groups in a simple series of three or more items. A comma is used to separate the name of the person speaking (or a pronoun) and a verb. A comma is used here, because it would also make sense to say, “He’s a cheerful and kind boy”. Redefine your inbox with Dictionary.com updates! We use a comma every third digit from the right. Because I was late, I had to sit in the back. Use a comma when an -ly adjective is used with other adjectives. You’ve probably heard a lot of things about the comma and may have questions about when to use a comma. If you would like the reader to briefly pause between two parts of a sentence, you should separate them with a comma. Commas are the most frequently used (and abused) punctuation mark in most kinds of writing. Example: My estate goes to my husband, son, daughter-in-law, and nephew. Please bring a calculator, a No. [CORRECT] Essential Clauses. You should set this information off using a comma before and a comma after it: John went for a jog, which took half an hour, before having a long hot shower. However, there are nuances regarding when to put a comma between multiple adjectives. The use of a comma with independent clauses is more straightforward. Correct: The rain and the wind battered the house. Correct: More than 50,000 people turned up to protest. Correct: There were no clouds in the sky, so I went for a jog. Example: While I was eating, the cat scratched at the door. Sometimes, writers end up inserting unnecessary commas or using commas incorrectly. Below is an example of such a sentence. The only rule here is to be consistent throughout your piece of writing. Commas also separate lists of longer phrases: The dog ran out the front door, through the mud, and dashed out the open gate. In all languages, not just English, writers use punctuation marks (or punctuation points as they are also called) to indicate things like pauses and full stops, to convey or demonstrate emotion, the ask questions or declare statements, and even to separate items in a … Note that some style guides would not add the comma after the word “eggs”. Rule #7: Use Commas to Separate Coordinate Adjectives. I hope this helps you make more sense of commas. 2. Here are some more specifics. It wouldn’t make sense to say, “There’s a blue and bath towel,” so no comma is used. You don’t need a comma if both the independent clauses are relatively short and similar in meaning: Sue went to the shops and John went home. 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. In a list of three or more elements, place a comma after each element. If “thus” does not significantly interrupt the sentence, it is a weak break, and it might not need a comma. The Constitution establishes the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. Best summary on commas that I have seen. Why: People who have grown up in the United States are used to placing a comma before the year (January 14, 1990). That comma is optional. How Do You Spell Chanukah (Or Is It Hanukkah)? The comma (,) When to use a comma. The incorrect version is called a “comma splice”. It can also divide clauses (“parts of a sentence”) or items in a list. (They’re coordinating if you could place “and” between them.) When a writer quotes a speaker’s words exactly as they were spoken, this is known as direct speech. In the second case, that comma is omitted. When you’re describing something with two or more adjectives, you can use a comma between them if those adjectives are coordinating. (itwouldlooksomethinglikethis). 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. (A comma is necessary before the last ‘ and .’) Example: The Constitution establishes the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. But one day, dad explained that the family dog had died. When used as a conjunction it is generally a good idea to use the comma (unless the phrases are very short). And, it is often used to create division or to improve the clarity of a sentence. share | improve this answer | follow | answered Jun 20 '11 at 2:36. Removal of such a clause from the sentence would alter the intended meaning. Use a comma after a dependent clause when it comes before the independent clause. It’s often used to identify one thing amongst a larger set. 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. When creating a list of three or more simple words, items, or concepts, use a comma to separate each word or word group. Sometimes, you might want to include extra information within a sentence that isn’t essential to its meaning. Use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives (We enjoyed the warm, sunny weather). Contending that the coordinating conjunction is adequate separation, some writers will leave out the comma in a sentence with short, balanced independent clauses (such as we see in the example just given). The candidate promised to lower taxes, protect the environment, reduce crime, and end unemployment. A list can be simple, as in a series of words: He bought milk, eggs, and bread at the store. 2-minute read. Commas are used to separate clauses, coordinate adjectives and items in a list. For example: A comma can also separate nonessential words from the essential parts of a sentence. 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. For more on this, see Rule #8. Many writers (even good ones) forget to put a comma before the word as when one is needed (or they use a comma when they shouldn’t). Commas can be used to break up sentences that have more than one clause and make them easier to read. Do use a comma when “as” can be substituted with “because”. You could also use dashes in this context: John went for a jog – which took half an hour – before having a long hot shower. When to Use a Comma Before 'Because' You don’t automatically put a comma before the word because, but sometimes you need a comma there to make sure your meaning is clear. A comma (,) A comma is used to show the difference between two separate ideas or elements within a sentence. 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. Dashes are useful if you want to imply a longer pause, or draw more attention to the nonessential element of the sentence. For example, you would use a comma in this sentence: “I love to visit Tokyo, Japan.” EXAMPLES: She drove to work, and I went to school. She made a casserole out of chicken, pasta, and leftover broccoli. She read many classics, such as “Our Mutual Friend” and “Moby Dick.” [CORRECT] He planned his vacation so that he could visit places such as the Grand Canyon. For example, Here’s a list of groceries I need: a loaf of bread, a quart of milk, and a stick of butter. Chris Michael says . You can also use commas to divide sets of numbers. (They’re coordinating if you could place “and” between them.) Commas also separate items in a list, and this is another use of a comma that quickly comes to mind. In this example, we use a comma … Taking the word but for example, if it is being used to join two independent clauses together then there should be a comma before but. You can use a semi-colon, or you can use a conjunction plus a comma. Examples include separate a city from a state (Boston, Massachusetts), a last name from a first name (Morris, Krista), or a proper name from a title (Chris Parbey, Jr.). A comma (,) signifies a short pause in a sentence. before an essential or restrictive clause, that is, a clause that limits or defines the material it modifies. Example: I have painted the entire house, but she is still working on sanding the floors. Examples: Well, I’m not going home on foot, at any rate. Where Does The Name “Saturday” Come From? Simultaneous time: The expense of the megaproject, as the government cut taxes, put a strain on the country’s finances. 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. Addresses. If that’s not the case, you can omit it. 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. This trick works because 'which' without a comma is used to head a defining clause, just like 'that.' Here, “bath” is acting as an adjective to modify “towel”, but it’s not coordinate with “blue”. 2. Mignon Fogarty Grammar Girl. Use a comma to separate dates and addresses. Some writers have very strong feelings for and against the serial comma. Use a comma to separate three or more words, phrases, or clauses written in a series. Here are two commas ( one for every three decimal places ) words from the sentence alter. ” Come from you want to improve the clarity of a sentence apart! 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