Commas p. 379
Commas Keep in mind… • “Separating” elements with commas means placing a comma between two equal elements • He likes pizza, hamburgers, and steak. • “Setting off” an element means putting commas before and after it • Poe, who wrote “The Raven,” is buried in Baltimore.
Commas • Use commas to separate three or more words, phrases, or clauses in a series • Mr. Sinclair, Mrs. Horn, and Mr. Diermayer teach eleventh graders. • Spring Break was too fast, too short, and too cold. • When the elements are separated by a conjunction, no comma is needed. • We went running and riding and sailing.
Commas • Place a comma between coordinate adjectives (which modify to the same degree) that come before a noun. • It was a hot, sunny day. • She was a little old lady. • Notice: “Little” and “old” are not coordinate adjectives. Try the “and/but” test. You would not say “little and old lady,” but you could say “hot and sunny day.”
Commas • Use commas between the main clauses in a compound sentence. (Don’t forget the coordinating conjunction!) • They went to the beach, and they got sunburned. • Some of the students said the classroom was hot, but others said it was cold. • Incorrect: They went to the beach, and got sunburned.
Commas and Non-essentials • Use commas to set off participles, infinitives, and their phrases if they are not essential to the meaning of the sentence. • The singer Brandy, driving too fast, caused a wreck. • To earn a scholarship, you will have to write an essay. • If the phrase is essential, do not set it off with commas.
Commas and Non-essentials • Use commas to set off a nonessential adjective clause. • Poe, who wrote “The Raven,” had a tragic life. • Animal Farm, which represents socialist Russia, is literally a farm run by animals. • If the clause is essential, do not set it off with commas. • Poe is the only writer who fascinates her.
Commas and Non-essentials • Use commas to set off an appositive if it is not essential to the meaning of the sentence. • Oprah Winfrey, a talk show host, is one of the highest paid people in the U.S. • The Puritans, a strict religious group, dominated literature at that time. • If the appositive is essential, do not set it off with commas. • Jasmyne’s friend Essence borrowed the book.
Commas with Introductory Phrases • A comma after a short introductory prepositional phrase is not incorrect, but the only time it is necessary is if the sentence might be misread without the comma. • Among those running, women were well represented. • Before the election candidates will participate in two debates.
Commas with Introductory Phrases • Use a comma after a long prepositional phrase or after the final phrase in a succession of phrases. • During the coldest part of winter, she caught a bad cold. • On the first Wednesday after the first Monday of each month, our book group meets.
Commas with Introductory Phrases • Use commas to set off introductory participles and participial phrases. • Gesturing forcefully, the speaker held her audience spellbound. • Running after my cats, I sprained my ankle.
Commas with Interruptors • Use a comma to set off an antithetical phrase. • In an antithetical phrase, a word such as not or unlike qualifies what comes before it. • Alaska, not Texas, is the largest state in the United States of America. • Australia, unlike New Zealand, is an island that is considered a continent.
Commas and Interruptors • Use commas to set off interjections, parenthetical expressions, and conjunctive adverbs. • Interjections: “oh,” “goodness,” “ah,” etc. • Parenthetical expressions: “on the other hand,” “in fact,” “by the way,” etc. • Conjunctive adverbs: “however,” “moreover,” “consequently,” etc.
Commas with Adverb Clauses • Use commas to set off all introductory adverb clauses. • Because it was a beautiful day, we decided to have a picnic. • Use commas to set off internal adverb clauses that interrupt the flow of the sentence. • Our outing, although it was well planned, did not run smoothly.
Commas with Adverb Clauses • In general, do not set off an adverb clause at the end of a sentence unless it would be misread without it. • We went home early even though we weren’t tired.
Commas • Use commas to set off titles when they follow a person’s name. • Maria Lopez, Ph. D. • Robert Bentley, governor of Alabama • April Lee, principal • Gus Malzahn, head football coach
Commas • Use commas to separate the various parts of an address, a geographical term, or a date. • Montgomery County, Alabama is your place of residence. • Our address is 4405 Brewbaker Dr., Montgomery, Alabama 36116. • The date is Tuesday, February 19, 2013.
Commas • Use commas to set off the parts of a reference that direct the reader to the exact source. • Refer to George Orwell’s Animal Farm, pages 32-33. • We read Act II, Scene iii of The Tragedy of Macbeth.
Commas • Use commas to set off words or names used in direct address. • Dria, will you read this sentence for us? • Remain in your seats, students, until the bell rings. • Don’t be late returning from lunch, Erick.
Commas • Use commas to set off a tag question. • A tag question—such as “shouldn’t I?” or “have you?”—suggests the answer to the statement that comes before it. • You read the chapters, didn’t you? • I should put a comma here, right? • I should shut down the computers every afternoon, shouldn’t I?
Commas • Place a comma after the salutation of an informal letter and after the closing of all letters. • Dear Mom, • Dear Jane, • Yours truly, • Sincerely,
Common Comma Errors • Don’t put a comma… • before a conjunction that comes before a compound predicate or a compound subject • between two main clauses without a conjunction • between a subject and its verb or between a verb and its complement
Practice: Common Comma Errors • The quarterback threw the ball, and then slipped. • The quarterback, and the running back are good athletes. • The North Carolina flag is red, white, blue, and gold, the state flower is the dogwood. • What she thought fit to do, was beyond me. • On our vacation we will bring, our tent, snack food, and beach clothes.
Practice • Complete the worksheet with a partner. Read carefully and write neatly. • When you finish, turn your paper in to the tray. • Then return to your seat. You may work on another assignment.