Commas Notes Set #1
Reason for using commas
- Commas help us understand sentences by keeping parts from “colliding”.
- While eating a rattlesnake approached our campsite.
- It’s important to know WHERE to use commas. Placing them incorrectly can change the meaning of a sentence.
- The panda eats, shoots, and leaves.
When to Use Commas--Part I
1) Coordinating Conjunctions
- Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction joining independent clauses
- Coordinating conjunction =word that joins two or more independent ideas (FANBOYS. and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet)
- Independent clause =word group that can stand on its own (could be a sentence by itself--has subject, verb and complete thought)
- WRONG: Nearly everyone has heard of love at first sight but I fell in love at first dance.
- CORRECT: Nearly everyone has heard of love at first sight , but I fell in love at first dance.
- Comma shows one thought ends and another begins
Exceptions to Coord. Conj. Rule
- Don’t need to use a comma when clauses are short
- The plane took off and we were on our way.
- Don’t use comma when one idea is NOT an independent clause
- A good money manager controls expenses and invests surplus dollars to meet future needs . (underlined phrase is a dependent clause)
2) Introductory Clauses and Phrases
- Use a comma after an introductory clause or phrase
- Introductory clause/phrase=idea that begins a sentence--usually a dependent clause (can’t stand on own)
- Near a small stream at the bottom of the canyon , the park rangers discovered an abandoned mine.
- Buried under layers of younger rocks , the earth’s oldest rocks contain no fossils.
3) Series of Words
- Use a comma between all items in a series and before AND.
- Uncle David wiled me all of his property, houses, and warehouses.
- Bubbles of air, leaves, ferns, bits of wood, and insects are often found trapped in amber.
- NOTE: commas come after item is complete, not after each word
4) Commas used w/ adjectives
- Adjective=descriptive word that modifies a noun
- This novel is both engaging and thrilling.
4a) Coordinate Adjectives
- Use a comma between coordinate adjectives not joined by AND
- Coordinate adjective=adjectives that could be joined by AND because they describe the noun separately
- She was warm and friendly and kind.
- When not joined by AND use a comma
- She was a warm, friendly, kind woman.
4b) Cumulative Adjectives
- DO NOT use a comma between cumulative adjectives
- Cumulative adjective=adjectives that do not modify a noun separately--Have to all stay together to make understand phrase
- Three large gray squirrels