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The SIX Basic Comma Rules. Thanks to a great book: The LEAST You Should Know about English. Comma Rule #1. The Serial…Comma, not Killer…  Place a comma between items in a series as in the example below. I have my laptop, my pens, my pencils, and my MP3 Player in my backpack. .

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the six basic comma rules

The SIX Basic Comma Rules

Thanks to a great book:

The LEAST You Should Know about English

comma rule 1
Comma Rule #1
  • The Serial…Comma, not Killer…

Place a comma between items in a series as in the example below.

I have my laptop, my pens, my pencils, and my MP3 Player in my backpack.

comma rule 2
Comma Rule #2
  • The Coordinating Conjunction Comma... Place a comma before a coordinating conjunction that joins two independent clauses. The coordinating conjunctions are: and, but, for, nor, or, so, and yet.

For Example: The best place to take a vacation is Chicago, but the best place to take a honeymoon is Hawaii.

comma rule 3
Comma Rule #3
  • The Introductory Word or Phrase comma…

Always place a comma after an introductory word or phrase. See below.

John, what are you doing to my car? OR

As I walked down the street, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in years.

comma rule 4
Comma Rule #4
  • The Interrupting Word/Phrase Comma…

Always place a comma before and after any word or phrase that can be removed from the sentence and still make sense.

For Example: John, the teacher, wrote his name on the board. OR

I ran down the street, though I didn’t have to, and fell down and hurt my crown.

comma rule 5
Comma Rule #5
  • The Concluding Word/Phrase Comma…

Always place a comma before any word or phrase that is just tagged on at the end of the sentence. See below.

Is that you in the corner, John? OR

I hadn’t seen John in years, though that didn’t make much difference in our friendship.

comma rule 6
Comma Rule #6
  • The Catch-all Comma…use it…

to separate numbers more than four digits long (1,000,000),

to separate city from state, (Paris, Texas),

to separate month & year (August 15, 1980),

before and after titles (James Smith, M.D., is no longer working here.),

or to prevent confusion (To err is human; to forgive, divine.)

brought to you by
Brought to you by

Tim McGinn

&

The NWACC

Writing Center