Comma Rules

Define Comma
  • A punctuation mark represented by: ,
  • Used to indicate pauses between parts of a sentence or to seperate items within a list
Rule 1
  • Separating items in a list
  • Add a comma after every item, except the last one
    • Adding a comma before the word "and" is optional
    • example:  We bought apples, bananas, oranges, and tomatoes.
  • Do not add commas if there are only 2 list items
    • example:  We bought apples and bananas.
Rule 2
  • Listing two or more adjectives (descriptions) for a noun
  • Add a comma between the adjectives
    • example:  What beautiful, sunny day.
Rule 3
  • In a sentence with a conjunction, where there's a subject and verb before and after the conjunction
  • Add a comma before the conjunction
    • example:  I'll sit in the sand, but you may not put sun tan lotion on my shoulders.
Rule 4
  • As a pause, after introductory words such as: yes, no, why, well...
  • Add a comma after the introductory word
    • example 1:  No, I will not do anymore homework!
    • example 2:  Well, if you insist.
Rule 5
  • Separating non-essential clauses (phrases) from the rest of the sentence
    • example:  New York, the city that never sleeps, has a lot of nightlife.
  • Note: Removing a non-essential clause from a sentence does not change the sentence's original meaning
Rule 6
  • Separating an introductory phrase from the rest of the setence
    • example:  Visiting New York for a second time, she went to a different restaurant every night.
Rule 7
  • Dates and addresses (examples below)
    • July 26th, 2013
    • Friday, July 26th, 2013
    • Friday, July 26th, 2013, in New York
    • 1234 Main Street, Brooklyn, New York 11235
    • 1234 Main Street
      Brooklyn, New York 11235
Rule 8
  • As part of a salutation
    • Start of a letter or email
      • example:  Dear John,
    • Start of a letter or email
      • example:  Sincerely,

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Fun Fact
The word “happy” is used
three-times more than “sad.”


  • I can show you a picture of a cat, dog, horse, or bunny.
  • We ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • That is one friendly, well-groomed puppy.
  • What beautiful, sunny day.
  • I'll go to the store, but I will not take the car.
  • So, did you hear my question?
  • Well, what do you think?
  • The New York Times, a very respectable paper, is starting to lose its credibility amongst journalists.
  • Harvard University, an Ivy League school, is the best in the country.
  • Realizing he didn't do his homework, he decided to stay home from school.
  • My address is 149 East 23rd Street, Unit 2034, New York, NY 10159.
  • To Whom It May Concern, ...
  • Dear John, have you read my letter?
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