From Gerald R. Lucas
📝 English Composition Writing FAQ 11011102📖

Comma Usage

Commas are used to separate items or elements in a sentence. Here are some guidelines on how to use a comma correctly:

Separating items in a list: Use commas to separate items in a list of three or more items.

Example: The party included balloons, cake, and presents.

Separating adjectives: Use commas to separate two or more adjectives that describe a noun.

Example: The beautiful, serene lake was perfect for fishing.

Setting off introductory elements: Use a comma after introductory phrases or clauses that come at the beginning of a sentence.

Example: After finishing my homework, I went to bed.

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

Example: She was tired, but she kept working.

Setting off nonessential elements: Use a comma to set off nonessential phrases or clauses that are not necessary to the meaning of the sentence.

Example: The concert, which was sold out, was amazing.

 note: The use of a comma can sometimes be a matter of style or preference, and there are some exceptions and additional rules to consider. However, these guidelines should provide a good starting point for understanding when to use a comma.

Comma Splice

A comma splice is a common grammatical error that occurs when two independent clauses (sentences that can stand alone as complete sentences) are joined together with just a comma instead of a coordinating conjunction (and, or, but, so, for, nor, yet) or a semicolon.

Incorrect: I woke up early, I went for a run.
Correct: I woke up early, and I went for a run. (using a coordinating conjunction)
Correct: I woke up early; I went for a run. (using a semicolon)

To fix a comma splice, you can either separate the two independent clauses into separate sentences, join them with a coordinating conjunction, or use a semicolon to separate them.

Written: 2002, 2022; Revised: 05-3-2023; Version: Beta 0.7 💬