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COMMAS. Rule #1: Commas in a Series. Use a comma to set off the elements of a series (three or more things), including the last two. The recipe calls for two eggs, one cup flour, and three cups sugar.

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rule 1 commas in a series
Rule #1: Commas in a Series

Use a comma to set off the elements of a series (three or more things), including the last two.

The recipe calls for two eggs, one cup flour, and three cups sugar.

You may have learned that this comma is not necessary; however, new grammatical rules have deemed it necessary.

rule 2 commas and coordinating conjunctions
Rule #2: Commas and Coordinating Conjunctions

Use a comma and a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) to separate two independent clauses.

The house was wrecked from the tornado, yet

the barn was untouched.

Remember that an independent clause has both a subject and a verb, and can stand on its own as a full sentence.

rule 3 commas and introductory elements
Rule #3: Commas and Introductory Elements

Use a comma to separate phrases or words at the beginning of the sentence. The important thing to remember about this comma rule is that if the introductory element can be taken completely out of the sentence, and the sentence still makes sense, a comma can go there.

Anxious about her upcoming test, Paula had a panic attack.

In 1954, my mother was born.

rule 4 commas and coordinate adjectives
Rule #4: Commas and Coordinate Adjectives

Use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives.

The spicy, cheesy nachos were very yummy.

The drafty, dreary, dilapidated house was cheap.

In order to put a comma between coordinate adjectives, they must pass two tests.

TEST 1 place “and” between the adjectives

TEST 2 switch the placement of the adjectives

The spicy and cheesy nachos were very yummy.

The cheesy, spicy nachos were very yummy.

rule 5 commas with contrasts
Rule #5: Commas with Contrasts

Use a comma to set off elements that express a contrast or turn in the sentence. Generally, this is shown by the words “not,” “but,” or “yet.” Please note that these are NOT the same as Rule #2, as these do not contain independent clauses.

The house was cute, but too expensive.

Maria was ready for the test, yet didn’t do well.

rule 6 commas with places and titles
Rule #6: Commas with Places and Titles

Use a comma to set off states and countries, dates, titles, etc.

We vacationed in San Diego, California.

Their anniversary is March 16, 1952.

Junya Bhandeet, President of the Gnome organization, was not present at the UN meeting on gnome awareness.

rule 7 commas with quotes
Rule #7: Commas with Quotes

Use a comma to set off quoted language.

In Shakespeare’s “Sonnet XVIII,” he asks, “shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

Myrup said, “Hurry up with my Hot Pocket!”

“Sweden is the best place,” he said, “to listen to Gunther cds.”

rule 8 commas with parenthetical elements
Rule #8: Commas with Parenthetical Elements

Use a comma to set off parenthetical elements. This is the most difficult rule in comma usage. A parenthetical element is “added information,” something that can be removed from a sentence without changing the essential meaning of that sentence. Deciding what is “added information” and what is essential is sometimes difficult. See the next slide.

rule 8 commas with parenthetical elements1
Rule #8: Commas with Parenthetical Elements

Robert Frost, perhaps America’s most beloved poet, died when he was 88.

Frank, your absence means nothing to me.

Note that this example also qualifies as another comma rule -- #3 – Commas and Introductory Elements.

I am warning you, Hermit family, leave town now before the crickets are thrown at you.

An addressed person (or group of people) is always parenthetical.

rule 9 commas with numbers
Rule #9: Commas with Numbers

Use commas with numbers. A comma will be placed every three numbers from the right. Follow these examples.

There were 18,028 men killed in the war.

That painting is 1,203 years old.

The world record for camel jumping is 157 feet.

now you try figure out where the commas go and which rule is being applied
Now You Try! Figure out where the commas go, and which rule is being applied.

Excuse me but there are of course many courses of action here.

Otto said “Ron pass the cookies.”

Yuma head of the William Shatner fan club threw a party for the newcomers.

Quails are the most beautiful graceful creatures ever.

Fletcher my eldest son was born on June 12 1985 in Atlanta Georgia.

My little red car has 180000 miles on it.