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Commas, the little punctuation you can use correctly

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Commas, the little punctuation you can use correctly

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Quick introduction to what you need to know to feel confident about commas.

Quick introduction to what you need to know to feel confident about commas.

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Commas, the little punctuation you can use correctly

  1. 1. BUILDING BLOCKS DON’T FEAR THE COMMAS
  2. 2. COMMAS ARE SCREENS You can look through them You can’t get through them
  3. 3. WHERE DO THE COMMAS GO? General comma rule - use a comma where it makes sense and helps to eliminate ambiguity. Main idea COMMA not important COMMA main idea. Stuff COMMA the sentence.
  4. 4. STURG’S 14 COMMA RULES 1. Use a comma before a conjunction when they join the clauses of a compound sentence (this is optional - if both clauses are short and the meaning is clear without the comma) • We went to the movie, and we were surprised how violent it was.
  5. 5. MORE COMMA RULES 2. To separate an introductory clause from the main one • After all, commas are essential to clear writing.
  6. 6. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE 3. To set off words like yes and no, words in direct address, “transitional words” No, I don’t want to go swimming today. Thanks, honey, for taking out the garbage. This dinner, not surprisingly, was delicious.
  7. 7. STILL MORE COMMA RULES 4. To set off a question at the end of a statement • We’re going out to dinner, aren’t we?
  8. 8. AND MORE 5. To set off titles, addresses and years Amanda Sturgill, professor, said commas are confusing. John Smith of Pittsburgh, Pa., led the cheers. John Smith, 37, died of exhaustion.
  9. 9. YET MORE 6. To set off contrasted sentence elements. Navy blue, not powder blue, was the color of choice. 7. To indicate omitted words Man, Wife Donate Thousands
  10. 10. AND MORE 8. To separate words, phrases and clauses in a series (do not use the final serial comma before a conjunction in media writing) • I will be serving cookies, cake, pie and ice cream.
  11. 11. LOOK! MORE COMMA RULES! 9. To separate coordinate adjectives (test - can you substitute “and” for the comma? If not, it is a compound adjective requiring a hyphen) She sat on the ugly, brown couch.
  12. 12. LOTS OF PEOPLE MISS THIS ONE 10. To set off a clause or phrase that disrupts the main clause • Jones, though not a graduate student himself, led a protest for the rights of graduate students.
  13. 13. HEY, ENOUGH WITH THE COMMAS ALREADY! 11. To set off non-essential clauses (hint - look for “Which.” If “that,” it’s essential) • The table, which has a broken leg, sits in the corner. • My husband David teaches computer science (I’m not polyandrous, so this is wrong!)
  14. 14. CALM DOWN, WE’RE ALMOST DONE 12. To set off one-sentence direct quotations from attributions. • “I hate grammar,” she said. • Smith said, “The sky is falling.”
  15. 15. HOT, FRESH COMMAS 13. With party affiliations, academic degrees, religious affiliations Amanda Sturgill, Ph.D., loves them there commas. David Duchovny, M.A., left Yale to pursue acting.
  16. 16. I TOLD YOU THERE WERE 14 14. To separate similar words Learning what good grammar is, is not easy.
  17. 17. WE HATES THE GRAMMAR PEOPLE Rules, schmules…Your mileage may vary Oxford commas (the series ones) Coordinate adjectives **People fight hard over these. It’s not worth losing your job over.

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