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Commas are a primary divider. Commas are used when linking two independent clauses. A coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, nor, yet, so) links the clauses together after the comma. The house approved the bill, but the senate rejected it. Commas!.

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commas

Commas are a primary divider.

Commas are used when linking two independent clauses.

A coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, nor, yet, so) links the clauses together after the comma.

The house approved the bill, but the senate rejected it.

Commas!
commas1

You can, however, omit it if the clauses are very short.

Love it or leave it.

Use your best judgment with longer independent clauses.

Commas can also be used to add a pause; sometimes, it is a judgment call.

Commas!
pause take a breath questions
Pause.

Take a breath!

Questions?!

Time Out!
coordinate elements

Use commas when you are dealing with a series of three or more coordinate elements.

These are elements that are joined by a coordinating conjunction.

You may pay by check, with a credit card, or in cash.

If there is already a comma in the sentence, use a semicolon!

Three important criteria are; fat content, salt content, and taste.

Coordinate Elements!
nonrestrictive elements

Use commas to set off nonrestrictive elements which supply information that is not essential to the meaning of a sentence.

Robert Coover, who spoke at the symposium last year, has a new novel out.

It is supplemental information! However, there are some tricks you do with this...

When using nonrestrictive elements, you will also use which instead of that (see pronouns).

He ran for the bus, which was late as usual.

The house, which is blue, sold quickly.

Versus...

The house that is blue sold quickly.

Nonrestrictive Elements
commas coordinate adjectives

In a list ending with "and" use a comma before and to make sure people know it is part of the list.

The downtown area includes a bakery, a florist, a small supermarket with an excellent butcher, and a bookstore.

Coordinating adjectives need a comma unless they are joined by a conjunction already.

She brushed her long, shining, hair.

The baby was tired and cranky and wet. (no comma needed)

Commas & Coordinate Adjectives
pause take a breath questions1
Pause.

Take a breath!

Questions?!

Time Out!
introductory elements

A dependent clause that offsets the rest of a sentence is normally offset by a comma.

When war came to Baghdad, many victims were children.

If it is short, again, you may omit the comma.

Use your best judgment whether the sentence will still be clear.

When I exercise I drink plenty of war.

(I might keep the comma. What do you think?)

Introductory Elements!
transitional words

Transitional words or phrases will be set off by a comma.

However, any plan enacted must be fair.

During the Depression, movie attendance rose.

First, plan your process analysis essay.

Transitional Words!
pause take a breath questions2
Pause.

Take a breath!

Questions?!

final thoughts

When dealing with quotes, commas go INSIDE the quotes.

Jackson's work, "detailed and important,” according to Hayles, is the topic of today's lecture. <--comma goes inside quote

Same with dialouge

”Further,” she said, ”I am sick of his crap!”

Final Thoughts...