7 Comma Rules Every Writer Should Know

7 Comma Rules Every Writer Should Know

Use the Oxford comma. Use a comma between two coordinate adjectives that describe the same noun. Make sure you place commas correctly in quotes. To make it complete, you need to add a comma and a complete sentence to the clause, like “I went to their concert”. When you do this, you’ve used a comma to connect an incomplete sentence and a complete sentence together: “Even though I tell my friends I hate rock music, I went to Nickelback’s concert.” It also doesn’t matter whether your incomplete or complete sentence comes first. Use the Oxford comma. Use a comma between two coordinate adjectives that describe the same noun. Since the adjectives “tiny” and “adorable” are interchangeable and you can place an “and” between them without muddling the sentence’s meaning, the adjectives are coordinate, so you should place a comma between the two. Consequently, including any additional, non-essential information about a noun requires you to isolate it from the rest of the sentence with commas. Make sure you place commas correctly in quotes.

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comma-rule

In the beginning of 2018, one missing comma in a Maine state law cost Oakhurst Dairy five million dollars.

The absence of the Oxford comma made two overtime-exempt tasks, packing and distributing food products, read like one activity, so any worker who distributed but didn’t pack any food products or vice versa sued the dairy company for their unsettled overtime pay. The workers won the suit.

As you can see, commas might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but one small error can cost you millions of dollars.

As a writer, correct comma usage is especially important because writing a piece packed full of comma errors could damage your professional reputation.

Commas are tiny yet potent details you must pay a laser-like attention to, so check out the seven comma rules every writer should know. Hopefully, re-learning how to correctly use commas will help you eliminate the chance of embarrassment from making these dangerous grammatical errors.

7 comma rules every writer should know

  1. You can only connect two complete sentences with a comma if there’s a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so), which are also called FANBOYS, between them.
  2. Use a comma to link an incomplete sentence with a complete sentence.
  3. Use the Oxford comma.
  4. Use a comma between two coordinate adjectives that describe the same noun.
  5. Use a comma to highlight additional, non-essential information about a noun.
  6. Make sure you place commas correctly in quotes.
  7. Put a comma before “while” to contrast two things.

1. You can only connect two complete sentences with a comma if there’s a coordinating conjunction (For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So, or FANBOYS) between them.

A complete sentence has a subject, verb, expresses a complete thought, and it can be its own sentence. For example, “We found a lost dog.” and “We took her home.” are both complete sentences.

But, if you place a comma between the two, like in the sentence “We found a lost dog, we took her home.” you end up writing a comma splice.

To fix this, you need to insert a coordinating conjunction or one of the FANBOYS after the comma, like this: “We found a lost dog, so we took her home.” This is how you correctly use a comma to connect these two complete sentences.

2. Use a comma to link an incomplete sentence with a complete sentence.

An incomplete sentence can have a subject and verb, but it doesn’t express a complete thought, so it can’t be its own sentence. For instance, the sentence “Even though I tell my friends I hate Nickelback” doesn’t express a complete thought and can’t stand alone. Therefore, it’s an incomplete sentence.

To make it complete, you need to add a comma and a complete sentence to the clause, like “I went to their concert”. When you do this, you’ve…

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