The SIX Basic Comma Rules
Thanks to a great book:
The LEAST You Should Know
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
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
The Introductory Word or Phrase
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
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
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
Comma Rule #6
The Catch-all Comma…use it…
to separate numbers more than four digits
to separate city from state, (Paris, Texas),
to separate month & year (August 15,
before and after titles (James Smith, M.D.,
is no longer working here.),
or to prevent confusion (To err is human;
to forgive, divine.)