Notes over Comma Usage Notes over Comma Usage

Notes over Comma Usage

  • Use commas to separate items in a series.


The Lady Braves are talented, respected, and special.

The Braves raced down the court, defended their goal, and made every basket.

  • Use a comma to separate the independent clauses of a compound sentence if the clauses are joined by a coordinating conjunction – for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so


Bobby hit the ball into left field and raced to first base.

(No comma is needed because there’s not two complete sentences.)

Bobby hit the ball into left field, and then he raced to first base.

(A comma is needed because there’s two complete sentences.)

  • Use a comma after certain introductory elements.
  1. Interjections that are not expressing strong emotion
  2. Example: Well, I think we’ll have tacos for dinner tonight.

  3. Prepositional phrases of four or more words OR two or more introductory prepositional phrases
  4. Example: After the homecoming pep rally, we all went to Pizza Hut.

  5. Participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence
  6. Example: Sitting in the sun by the pond, the toad lazily caught insects.

  7. An adverb clause at the beginning of a sentence

Example: Because you are so smart, you should do well on your test.

  • Use commas to separate elements in dates and addresses.


On December 25, 1777, Captain Cook landed on Christmas Island.

Write to the McCord Company, 357 Jefferson Street, Springfield, Ilinois 62703, for more information

  • Use commas to set off parenthetical expressions

Common parenthetical expressions: after all, at any rate, by the way, consequently, however, for example, for instance, generally speaking, I believe (guess, hope, know), in fact, in my opinion, of course, on the contrary, on the other hand, moreover, nevertheless, to tell the truth (NOTE: Generally avoid using parenthetical expressions in your writing but if you DO use them, please use commas to separate them from the rest of your sentence.)

  • Use commas to set off nouns of direct address.

Example: Mom, what’s for dinner?

  • Use commas to set off most appositives and their modifiers. Don’t use commas if the appositive is simply a proper noun.


Mr. Lawrence, a graduate of Texas A&M, is our superintendent.

Have you ever been to Austin, the capital of Texas?

My brother Robert lives in Austin.

Mrs. Stluka's Web Site
Shiner ISD
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