Einstein explains the three most common comma rules.

Grammar Vids for Kids: How To Use Commas
Comma story - Terisa Folaron


10 Rules for Using Commas

1. Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction (and, or, but, nor, yet, so, for) that separates two independent clauses.

There are eighty people in the room, but I do not think they are all planning on eating the buffet.

2. Use a comma after an introductory word, phrase, or clauses that come before a main clause.

Strangely, no one has suggested fixing the switch.

Despite the immigrants high hopes, their dreams were often unrealized.

3. Use commas around words, phrases, and clauses in the middle of a sentence when they are not essential to the meaning of the sentence.

Numerous studies, however, have shown that negative reinforcement affects self image more extensively than does positive reinforcement.

Karl Marx, an important nineteenth-century sociologist, believed in his role as a social thinker to change the world.

4. Use commas between items in a series.

The frigid, snowy, windy day was typical of Minnesota in January.

Three reasons for the closing were insufficient funds, poor instructional materials, and inadequate funds.

5. Use commas to separate coordinating adjectives.

Coordinating adjectives are adjectives in a series that can be rearranged in any order and could be (but are not) strung together using “and.”

A rusty, dented, broken-down car was left behind.

6. Use commas before and after a quotation within a sentence.

"Cooperation between government and industry,” the President said, “must exist if the country is to prosper.”

The author stated, “One must seek to discover.”

7. Use a comma before an afterthought or contrasting element.

We are indebted to our forefathers, far more so than generations before us.

8. Use commas to set off geographical names, items in date, and professional titles.

The speaker was from Atlanta, Georgia. Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in a log cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky.

Stephanie Glenn, PhD, will be the main speaker at the banquet.

9. Use commas to set off conjunctive adverbs used as transitional devices.

Conjunctive adverbs: include, however, therefore, consequently, thus, furthermore, on the other hand, in general, and in other words.

Your watch indicates that we are on time. My watch, however, indicates that we are 2 minutes late.

10. Use commas with markers of direct address. Words that indicate you are talking to someone (yes/no, the reader’s name, question tags, or mild indicators “well” or “oh”)

Yes, I am going to look for brown boots today.

Oh, I don’t know. We are doing quite well, don’t you think?

Watch out for COMMA SPLICES!

Comma splices – joining two independent clauses with a comma and no conjunction.

INCORRECT: She went to the bank, I went to the market.

CORRECT: She went to the bank, and I went to the market.
Grammar's great divide: The Oxford comma - TED-Ed

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