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By Arundathie Abeysinghe
Lecturer in English
International Aviation Academy
SriLankan Airlines
1Arundathie Abeysinghe
Use commas to separate words and word groups with a
series of three or more
e.g.
Share these chocolates with your siste...
Use commas before the name or title of a person directly
addressed
e.g: Will you, Amanda, return that book before Friday...
Use a comma to separate the day of the month from the
year and after the year
e.g.:
Brian met his wife on September 28,...
Use a comma to separate the city from the state
e.g. I live in Manhattan , New York.
 She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
5A...
Use a comma to separate two adjectives
e.g. She is a young, beautiful girl.
 If the word and is inserted between the tw...
Use a comma after phrases of more than three words that
begin a sentence
e.g. On January 1, people all over the world ce...
Use a comma to separate a city from a state
e.g. She has been working in Annapolis, Maryland, during
the last 5 years.
...
Use a comma to separate independent clauses joined by a
coordinating conjunction (and, but, so, yet, for, or, nor)
e.g. ...
Use commas to set off expressions that interrupt
sentence flow
e.g. He is, as mentioned earlier, the best person to do t...
Use commas to surround degrees or titles used
with names
e.g. Monica Wetzel, M.D., was in College with Azar Sr. and
Mike...
Use a comma when starting a sentence with a weak clause
e.g. If she is not attending the meeting, please inform the
secr...
Use a comma when an adjective (-ly) is used with other
adjectives
e.g. Liza is a lovely, beautiful girl.
 Aditya is a l...
Use a comma to separate words and word groups (with a
series of three or more)
e.g. Nelly divided 20 exercise books amon...
Use commas to introduce or interrupt direct quotations
shorter than three lines
e.g. “Where,” she asked “Do you hope to ...
Use a comma surrounding words such as however and
therefore when they are used as interrupters
e.g. I would be glad, how...
Use a comma to separate a statement from a question.
e.g. I can swim in the pool, can’t I?
 You said you can drive, can...
Use a comma when beginning sentences with introductory
words – now, well, yes etc.
e.g. Well, I decided not to attend th...
Use a comma to separate contrasting parts of a sentence
e.g. This is Monica’s book, not Michelle’s.
 That is Sasha’s ca...
Use a comma to separate items in a list (nouns or
adjectives)
e.g. David bought vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, milk and...
Thank you!
21Arundathie Abeysinghe
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ESL Punctuation rules - Commas

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Commas are similar to amber lights in traffic signals; amber lights signal drivers to slow down and proceed with caution. Similarly, a comma indicates the reader to pause. A comma is used to perform a number of functions.

By Arundathie Abeysinghe
Lecturer in English
International Aviation Academy
SriLankan Airlines

Published in: Education
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ESL Punctuation rules - Commas

  1. 1. By Arundathie Abeysinghe Lecturer in English International Aviation Academy SriLankan Airlines 1Arundathie Abeysinghe
  2. 2. Use commas to separate words and word groups with a series of three or more e.g. Share these chocolates with your sister, your brother, and your cousin 2Arundathie Abeysinghe
  3. 3. Use commas before the name or title of a person directly addressed e.g: Will you, Amanda, return that book before Friday? Can you, Peter, finish the assignment soon? 3Arundathie Abeysinghe
  4. 4. Use a comma to separate the day of the month from the year and after the year e.g.: Brian met his wife on September 28, 2009, in Boston. Exception If any part of the date is omitted, leave out the comma e.g.: Brian met his wife in 2009. 4Arundathie Abeysinghe
  5. 5. Use a comma to separate the city from the state e.g. I live in Manhattan , New York.  She lives in Phoenix, Arizona. 5Arundathie Abeysinghe
  6. 6. Use a comma to separate two adjectives e.g. She is a young, beautiful girl.  If the word and is inserted between the two adjectives, do not use a comma e.g She is a young and beautiful girl. 6Arundathie Abeysinghe
  7. 7. Use a comma after phrases of more than three words that begin a sentence e.g. On January 1, people all over the world celebrate the New Year. To get good results, you must study hard. 7Arundathie Abeysinghe
  8. 8. Use a comma to separate a city from a state e.g. She has been working in Annapolis, Maryland, during the last 5 years. If a two letter capitalized form is used in a sentence, a comma is not necessary. e.g. She is working in Annapolis, MD during the last 5 years. 8Arundathie Abeysinghe
  9. 9. Use a comma to separate independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (and, but, so, yet, for, or, nor) e.g. I have finished studying, but I will not attend the party. I may accept your business proposal, or I may reject it. 9Arundathie Abeysinghe
  10. 10. Use commas to set off expressions that interrupt sentence flow e.g. He is, as mentioned earlier, the best person to do this job. 10Arundathie Abeysinghe
  11. 11. Use commas to surround degrees or titles used with names e.g. Monica Wetzel, M.D., was in College with Azar Sr. and Mike Stuart II. 11Arundathie Abeysinghe
  12. 12. Use a comma when starting a sentence with a weak clause e.g. If she is not attending the meeting, please inform the secretary. Do not use a comma if the sentence starts with a strong clause followed by a weak clause e.g. Please inform the secretary if she is not attending the meeting. 12Arundathie Abeysinghe
  13. 13. Use a comma when an adjective (-ly) is used with other adjectives e.g. Liza is a lovely, beautiful girl.  Aditya is a lively, handsome boy. 13Arundathie Abeysinghe
  14. 14. Use a comma to separate words and word groups (with a series of three or more) e.g. Nelly divided 20 exercise books among her sister, brother, cousins, and her friend. NOTE: If the comma is omitted after cousins, it would mean that cousins and the friend have to divide the exercise books among themselves. 14Arundathie Abeysinghe
  15. 15. Use commas to introduce or interrupt direct quotations shorter than three lines e.g. “Where,” she asked “Do you hope to build the house?’ 15Arundathie Abeysinghe
  16. 16. Use a comma surrounding words such as however and therefore when they are used as interrupters e.g. I would be glad, however, to accept your invitation. 16Arundathie Abeysinghe
  17. 17. Use a comma to separate a statement from a question. e.g. I can swim in the pool, can’t I?  You said you can drive, can’t you? 17Arundathie Abeysinghe
  18. 18. Use a comma when beginning sentences with introductory words – now, well, yes etc. e.g. Well, I decided not to attend the meeting.  Yes, I agree with him. 18Arundathie Abeysinghe
  19. 19. Use a comma to separate contrasting parts of a sentence e.g. This is Monica’s book, not Michelle’s.  That is Sasha’s car, not Dave’s. 19Arundathie Abeysinghe
  20. 20. Use a comma to separate items in a list (nouns or adjectives) e.g. David bought vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, milk and chocolates at the supermarket Misha is a young, beautiful, lively girl. 20Arundathie Abeysinghe
  21. 21. Thank you! 21Arundathie Abeysinghe

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