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Commas are important! A panda walks into a bar. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

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Commas are important!

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commas are important
Commas are important!
  • A panda walks into a bar. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.
  • "Why? Why are you behaving in this strange, un-panda-like fashion?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda walks towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
  • "I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up."
  • The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.
  • "Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."
they can cause confusion show photos
They can cause confusion…(show photos)
  • Eat here and get gas!
  • Eat here, and get gas!
  • Slow children playing
  • Slow, children playing


When to Use Them!

basic jargon
Independent Clause: Can stand by itself. Has a subject and a verb.

Ask yourself: If I left out the other stuff, does the sentence still make sense?

Dependent/Subordinate Clause: Has a subject and a verb, but it can’t stand on its own

Phrases: Like a dependent clause, but it does not have both a subject and verb.

Basic Jargon
examples identify ind and dep clauses
Examples – Identify Ind. And Dep. Clauses
  • While Alex was sleeping, the teacher was talking.
  • Christine went shopping because she needed new clothes.
  • Although I do not like ketchup, I like tomatoes.
a little more jargon
A Little More Jargon
  • Compound Sentence: Made up of two independent clauses.
  • Ex: Grace likes photography and Monica likes photography.
  • Complex Sentence: One independent clause, one dependent clause
  • Ex: When it started raining, Arthur came in from recess.
rule 1
Rule #1
  • Use a comma after a dependent clause or word
  • Ex: However, I don’t like it
  • Ex: While Alex was sleeping, the teacher was talking
  • However, don’t put a comma after the independent clause when a dependent clause follows
  • Ex: She was late for class because her alarm broke.
rule 2
Rule #2
  • Use a comma after a phrase
  • Ex: To win the girl, Alex sent her roses.
  • Ex: Having finished the test early, Claire left the room.
rule 3
Rule #3
  • Use a pair of commas in the middle of a sentence to set off clauses, phrases, and words that are dependent
  • Ask the question: If you left out the clause, phrase, or word does this sentence make sense?
  • This Tuesday, which happens to be my birthday, is the day I have a test
  • The food, on the other hand, is rather bland.
adjective commas
Adjective Commas
  • Coordinate adjectives: Equal status in describing noun
  • Non-coordinate adjectives: Unequal status in describing the noun
  • Ask: does the sentence make sense if the adjectives are written in reverse order?
  • Ex: Annie was a difficult, stubborn child. (coordinate – needs comma)
  • Ex: Shahriar wore a pink wool sweater (non-coordinate)
story time
Story Time
  • Organize into groups of four. Everyone take out a piece of paper. Start writing a story beginning with the sentence “On a dark and stormy night…” Write for five minutes or so (try to get at least a paragraph) and in this time, use an independent clause and underline it. When I call time, pass the paper to the person to your left. They will pick up the story where you left off except this time they must include a complex sentence and underline the dependent clause. Write for five more minutes. You can make these as ridiculous as you want – get creativity points!
  • Pass the paper again to the person to the left. They will use a compound sentence.
  • Pass and use two adjectives separated by a comma