These are main comma rules, but one should note that rules for direct address, clarity, interjections, addresses, dates, and numbers do exist. These rules cover those commas that separate items and those that join items.
Rule 1: Separating Items in a Series
Use a comma to separate items in a list of three or more.
Examples: America’s landscape is composed of deserts, mountains, plains, and forests.
The astronauts’ mission was to land on Mars, take soil samples, and come back safely.
Notice that the items in a series, whether nouns, verbs, or clauses, must remain parallel, meaning that all of the items in that series must be nouns.
Rule 2: Separating Introductory Elements from the Main Clause
Use a comma to separate an introductory word or clause from the independent clause.
Examples: After three years of intense therapy, I was able to write again.
Today, I will call my friend.
Although the terms of the contract were unclear, no one disputed it.
Therefore, you need a comma.
Rule 3: Separating Coordinating Adjectives
Use a comma between coordinating adjectives. You can tell coordinating adjectives by inserting the word “and” between them and switching their order. If they still make sense, they are coordinating and require a comma.
Examples: The dry, boring man was elected to office.
The large brown elephant ramped through the streets. No comma is necessary because “large” is modifying the type of elephant (brown).
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 15:59