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Comma: Nine Rules

Comma is one of the most widely used punctuation marks (after ‘period’ of course), and easily the one that creates a lot of confusion for many. There are a set of commonly committed errors while using a comma, which may lead to incorrect interpretation of the sentence.

Let’s look at the errors and how to write a correct sentence so as to avoid them.

Comma - Nine Rules

Rule 1:

Between items in a series as well as before the conjunction (i.e., and, but, or) preceding the last item (Also called the serial comma rule).

Examples:

(A) The father gave $100 each to Harry, James, Sally, and Tom.

(B) I had the option to study economics, humanities, or management.

Rule 2:

Between consecutive adjectives to define qualities of an object.

Examples:

(A) The bed was soft, warm, and cozy.

(B) The police found the car in a burnet, broken, and ricked condition.

Rule 3:

Before conjunctions (and, but, nor, or, for, and sometimes yet and so) when they join independent clauses:

Examples:

(A) He likes oats and corn, but he does not like beans or salads.

(B) Though the soldier was tired, and he would not budge from the couch.

Rule 4:

After introductory expressions:

Examples:

(A) Happily, we were able to make the connection.

(B) In response to her request, they cancelled her subscription.

Rule 5:

Between Flip-flop phrases (sentences when flipped, retain the same meaning):

Example:

(A) Having been a quarterback in college, he was eager to play again.

This could be rewritten as

He was eager to play again, having been a quarterback in college.

Rule 6:

To enclose name of places, addresses and locational or time details. Also, to write dates that include both, day and year viagra a montreal.

Examples:

(A) Susan was born in Kozhikode, Kerala, but now lives in Mumbai.

(B) The terrorist attacks in Mumbai happened on November 26, 2011.

Rule 7:

After an abbreviation following a name only if a comma was used before the abbreviation.

Example:

(A) Mr. John Jones Jr. was found murdered or Mr. John Jones, Jr., was found murdered whichever you prefer, but do not write Mr. John Jones, Jr. was found murdered.

Rule 8:

Use before a direct quotation and after it unless the sentence ends with a period, exclamation point or question mark.

Example:

(A) Noted American playwright William Tennessee once said, “Make voyages! Attempt them… there’s nothing else,” but critics would ask, “Did he mean literal, or philosophical?”

Rule 9:

Use a comma to clarify sentence structure and pauses and to set a verb and noun combination apart from another verb, so that the reader can better understand your meaning.

Example:

(A) After we had eaten the cat jumped in my lap

This should be re-written as: After we ate, the cat jumped in my lap.

 

Keep watching this space for similar rules.