When should you use a comma?
These simple rules may help.
To make it clear what you are referring to.
- My beloved honey is over there.
- My beloved, honey is over there.
And perhaps the most famous:
- A Panda came into the bar. He eats shoots and leaves
- A Panda came into the bar. He eats, shoots and leaves.
The second sentence could have involved a dead bear. The first sentence suggests the Panda eats shoots and leaves.
- I would like to buy, books, chocolate, clothes, a new car and a Rolex watch.
- There are several countries in the Euro, such as, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Germany.
In some academic publications there will be a comma before the last and.
- There are several countries in the Euro, such as, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, and Germany.
- This is known as the Oxford comma.
- With great reluctance, I decided to do my homework.
- I am trying to learn the rules for using a comma, in order to improve my written English
Note: even without the sub clause there would still be a valid sentence
Before a Little Conjunction (and, but, yet, indeed, so) of two independent clauses.
- I should have scored a century, but the bowling attack was very precise.
- My Economics teacher, who has a silly haircut, gave me far too much homework.
- A comma should be used in giving full date.
- Economics classes start on 7th September, 2010, in the Old Library.
- Global warming is increasing temperatures around the world, yet England is getting colder.
- She was very attractive, but vain.
Should you use a comma before and?
- In a list it is not necessary. For example, the UK Eurovision song got nil points from France, Sweden and Portugal.
However, it can be helpful in complicated lists:
- I buy food from Tesco, Morrisons, Marks and Spencers, and the Co-op. This helps show Marks and Spencer is just one item in the list.
A comma should be used for two distinct clauses.
- He went to get the bus, and the weather was cloudy again.
When Not to Use the Comma.
Two Adjectives that would not make sense with and between
- He only had a tiny cutting knife. (It wouldn’t make sense to say – He only had a tiny and cutting knife.)
- My grandmother is a little old lady, but very fiery.
This occurs when a comma is used for two independent phrases which would be better with fullstop or semi-colon.
- He went to catch the bus, the weather was dull and grey.
This could be corrected by:
- He went to catch the bus. The weather was dull and grey.
- He went to catch the bus; the weather was dull and grey.
- He went to catch the bus, and the weather was dull and grey.
Books on Using The Comma