COMMA 

 

Series | coordinate adjectives | compound elements and sentences | introductory elements | interrupters | nonessential examples | expressions of contrast | dates and addresses | confirmatory questions | names and titles | clarification  

 

1. In a Series Place a comma between three or more items connected by a coordinating conjunction.

 

       Example: 
         

             

 

Caution:  Do not place commas between two items separated by and or between three items separated from one another by ands.

   
        Incorrect:

           

 

        Correct: 
        

           

 

Remember to place a comma before the coordinating conjunction joining the last two elements of the series.  Otherwise, the intended meaning of the sentence may not be clear.

 

  Confusing:

 

     

 

 

 Confusing:
                 

 

 

2. Between Coordinate Adjectives Place commas between equal adjectives with no
          coordinating conjunction between them.

 

       Example:   

 

        Incorrect:

             

 

3. Before FANBOYS  between Independent Clauses in Compound Sentences

 

The war lasted for two years, but very few people supported it.

Caution:  Do not place a comma between two items with FANBOYS when one item is not a complete sentence.

 

         Incorrect:

       

Caution:  Do not place a comma after the FANBOY. 

        Incorrect:
            

Note:  The comma may be omitted between independent clauses if a sentence is very short.

        Example:   
            
                          


 

4. Nonessential  Adjective Clauses / Nonessential participial phrases   - Separate
      unneeded adjective clauses and participial phrases from the rest of the sentence.

 

          Examples:            

 

Caution:  Do not separate needed adjective clauses and participial phrases from the rest of the sentence.    

     

        Incorrect:

           

 

5. Introductory Elements - Place a comma after certain introductory elements.

 

   A.  Long prepositional phrases or a succession of prepositional phrases

 

          Examples:

 

 Note:  With short introductory prepositional phrases, the comma is optional.

 

          Examples:

        

   B.  Participial phrases
 

          Examples:

           

 

   C.  Gerunds as objects of prepositions
 

          Example:

           

 

Caution:  Do not separate gerunds functioning as sentence subjects from the rest of the sentence.

 

       Incorrect:

    

 

        Correct: 

            

   D.   Adverbial infinitives

 

          Example:

      

 

Note:  To test whether the introductory infinitive is adverbial, place "in order" in front of the infinitive. If the resulting sentence makes sense. the introductory infinitive is adverbial and should be followed by a comma.

    

 

Caution:  Do not place a comma after an introductory infinitive that is not adverbial.

 

       Incorrect:

        

 

        Correct: 

      

Caution:  Do not place a comma before an adverbial infinitive at the end of the sentence.
 

       Incorrect:

   

 

        Correct: 

        

   E.  Adverbial clauses

 

          Example:

       

 

       Incorrect:

        

 

        Correct: 

          

 

   F.  Mild interjections (well, yes, no, why, etc.)

 

          Examples:

  

 

6. To separate Interrupters 

 

    A.  Parenthetical  expressions and transitions (in my opinion, unfortunately, moreover, of course, as a matter of fact,  indeed, for example,  etc.)

 

            Example:
           

 

 

     B.  Nonessential Appositives   (renamers)   

 

            Example:

            

 

        Caution:  Do not separate essential appositives with commas.

 

         Incorrect:

                

 

        In the above example, the appositive is essential since there is more than one daughter.
        Therefore, do not place commas around the appositive.

 

        Correct:

            

 

     C.  Direct Address


            Examples:
               
   
                                                                                                                      

 

7. Nonessential Examples Introduced by such as, especially, particularly  

 

            Examples:

             

 Caution:  Do not separate essential examples with commas.  

 

         Incorrect:

                

 

        Correct:

         

        

 

8. Expressions of Contrast     

 

            Examples:        

            

 

 

9. Dates and Addresses - When a date or address with several parts occurs in a sentence, place a comma  between each element and after the last part.

 

            Examples:

             

 Caution:  When the date or address has only one element or has its individual parts separated by words  in the sentence, do not use a comma within or after the date or address.

 

         Incorrect:

         

 

        Correct:

             

         

 

     

10. Before Confirmatory Questions - Place a comma between the confirmatory question and the statement that precedes it.
 

        Example:

         

            

11. Name followed by  Jr., Sr., Ph.D., M.D.

 

        Example:        
                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

12. To clarify otherwise Misreadable Word Groups

 

        Examples: