The comma (,) is the shortest pause and is used within a sentence or set off words and group of words.
What is Punctuation?
Punctuation is the art of rightly putting pauses, points and stops in writing in order to make the sense clear and comprehensible.
Use of Comma (,)
The comma (,) is a shortest pause in a sentence. It is used to mark off a series of words of the same class like nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs and verbs. It is also used to separate the reported speech from the reporting verb in direct speech.
Rules to use Comma in Writing:
- The comma is used to mark off words used in addressing a person.
i. Joe, do not find fault with others.
ii. Kim, I hope you and David can come to the party.
iii. I would be very glad, Feena, if you would do this for me.
iv. Please let me know, Mr. Johnson, when you will be in the London.
v. Friends, come in.
- When you mention a persons title after his or her name or the name after the title.
i. I saw Mrs. Jane, your teacher, this morning.
ii. Khipil, the builder, did not pay attention to his work.
iii. My ideal teacher, Mr. Joe, is a very honest person.
- The comma is used to mark off a series of words of the same class like nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs and verbs.
i. The boys purchased pencils, nibs, paper, and a dictionary from the shop.
ii. In the room we found old furniture, worn out clothes, and several books.
iii. We left the room, switched off the lights, locked up the door, and went to the college.
iv. You, he and I helped the poor.
- The comma is used between pairs of words connected by “an”.
i. High and low, rich and poor, wise and foolish, all must die one day.
ii. Truth is fair and artless, simple and sincere, uniform and constant.
- The comma is used to indicate omission of a word or words in a sentence.
i. What you do is your responsibility; what I do, mine.
ii. Some customers prefer the dictation machines with stands; others, without.
iii. One of the persons involved in the accident is a builder, the other, a beggar.
iv. They went to London; I, to Austrailia.
v. To eer is human; to forgive, divine.
- The comma is used between the day and the year in a date. April 27, 2000
February 16, 2004
- The comma is used after and before certain words. Some of the words are: however, at last, of course, well, therefore, indeed, meanwhile, to sum up, first, no doubt, in fact, in short, after all, to say the last, to tell the truth, all the same, on the whole, finally, for instance, etc.
- The comma is used to separate the reported speech from the reporting verb in direct speech.
i. He said to me, “I work hard”.
ii. The teacher said, “Do not make a noise”.
iii. “Fetch me a glass of milk”, said the master to his servant.
- The comma is used after a negative or affirmative adverb (no or yes) that begins a sentence.
i. Yes, I will come to you in the evening.
ii. No, I cannot help you in this matter.
- The comma is used to separate an adverbial clause beginning with if, when, where, unless, until, after, before, since, though, because etc, from the Principal Clause.
i. Until you work hard, you cannot pass the examination.
ii. If he comes to me, I shall help him.
iii. Though his plan was incomplete, he received general approval.
iv. When I reached the station, the train had gone.
v. Because she has come, I will go.
vi. Before the doctor came, the patient had died.
vii. Since I am hard up, I cannot lend you money.
- The comma is used to mark off or separate one abbreviation from another.
i. He is M.A., L.L.B. ii. Dr. Joe is M.B.B.B., F.C.P.C.
- The comma is usually placed after the complimentary close.
i. Yours sincerely,
ii. Very truy yours,
iii. Your sincere friend,
- The comma is placed after a participle phrase, a simple infinitive or an infinitive phrase that introduces a sentence.
i. Looking into this man’s record, we find he was arrested twice.
ii. Knowing your past record, I am sure, you will handle the job with distinction.
iii. To fly, one needs a strong pair of wings.
iv. To win this competition, we must trust each other completely.
- The comma is placed to set off a phrase of contrast at the end of a sentence.
i. I told her to chop the onion, not dice it.
ii. He ordered the srimp saled, not the chicken salad.
iii. The concert was loud, yet dull.
- The comma is used to separate a declarative clause from an interrogative clause that follows it.
i. She has beautiful eyes, doesn’t she?
ii. This is the place, isn’t it?
- The commas are used to separate sets of three digits in numbers one thousand and greater.
ii. 11,408, 382
- Use a comma before a conjunction (and, for, but, or, nor, so, yet) linking two independent clauses.
i. I saw the game, but I don’t remember the score.
ii. She drove us to the market, and I bought another set of pens.
iii. The cowards never started on the long trek west, and the week died along the way.
- Do not use a comma before a conjunction that links a pair of words or phrases.
i. He was genial, but shrewed. (Incorrect)
ii. He was genial but shrewed. (Correct)
iii. I phoned the store, and asked to speak with the manager. (Incorrect)
iv. I phoned the store and asked to speak with the manager. (Correct)
- Do not place a comma before a coordinate conjunction that connects two subordinate clauses. Because time is short, and because the matter is so urgent, we must act now. (Incorrect)
Because time is short and because the matter is so urgent, we must act now. (Correct)
- The comma is used to separate a long subject, coming in the beginning of a sentence, from its verb.
i. That a severe defeat had been suffered, was now obvious.
ii. The injustice of the punishment given to that great man, is now evident to all.
- The comma is used to mark off a clause beginning with relative pronoun or relative adverbs (who, which, whom, whose, that etc.) when they explain or add to the meaning of a noun or a pronoun that has gone before.
i. Joe, who is a hard working student, came first in the examination.
ii. I have returned the book, which you gave me yesterday.
- When two figures come together in a sentence, the comma is placed to separate them.
i. In 1992, 440 employees attended the meeting.
ii. The following will report at 8.30 shar: Joe, Kim, Fina and Spencer.
iii. We shall go to Smiths, Boots, Woolworths, and Marks and Spencer.