One thing I see often while editing client documents is that people don’t seem to know when to use a comma. I thought I’d take today’s post to quickly outline when you should use the comma.
Here are 8 instances when you should use commas and a couple of examples for each. If you stick to these 8 circumstances, you may very well become an expert comma user.
1. Separating successive list items
- I have a son, a daughter, two sisters, and a brother.
- My Pinterest boards include pins on food, fashion, and fun.
2. Separating adjectives that modify the same noun
- The quick, brown, sly fox jumped over the lazy dog.
- My favourite piece of furniture is a a green, overstuffed, soft armchair in my living room.
3. Before conjunctions linking independent clauses
- I need to buy some ice cream, but I don’t have enough money.
- I am afraid of heights, so I avoid jumping off tall cliffs.
4. After introductory words or phrases
- After supper, let’s eat dessert.
- Before you enter the house, please remove your shoes.
5. Around nonrestrictive phrases
- New York City, one of the largest cities in the world, is busy.
- The dog I found, which was brown and had only three legs, was reunited with its owner tonight.
6. With dates and addresses
- His birthday is April 1, 1954. (Note: this is an American date format.)
- Lethbridge, Alberta is one of the five cheapest cities to live in Canada.
7. When directly addressing someone
- Mary, do you still love me?
- I’d like you, Jack and Jill, to take care of this presentation.
8. At the salutation and close of a letter
- Dear John,
- Sincerely, Jane
Are you aware of any other legitimate time when you can use a comma? Share them in the comments below.
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