Comma, Comma, Comma, Comma, Comma Chameleon

Comma, Comma, Comma, Comma, Comma Chameleon

By Rory C. Keel

For me the correct place for using a comma seems as elusive as a chameleon. Hidden somewhere between subordinate clauses, independent clauses and coordinating conjunctions, the comma hangs out waiting for a slight pause.

Here are five basic rules to help in using a comma.

  1. Never place a comma between a subject and its verb or between a verb and its object.
  2. When a subordinate clause introduces an independent clause, separate the two with a comma.
  3. Don’t use a comma to separate the clauses when a subordinate clause follows an independent clause.
  4. Use a comma before the appropriate coordinating conjunction to join two related sentences.
  5. When in doubt, leave it out.

Remembering these basic rules will help you put them where they belong and leave them out where they don’t.


2 thoughts on “Comma, Comma, Comma, Comma, Comma Chameleon

  1. The comma is one of the most misunderstood and misused punctuation marks. Perhaps it’s because its proper use requires that people know a subordinate clause from an independent clause. In my experience, most people don’t.

  2. Pingback: And now for something really controversial: The serial comma « ConversationalWordsmith

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