GRAMMAR REVIEW # 2
RULE 1: Use a comma with coordinating conjunctions (and, or, but, yet, so, for, nor) linking independent clauses. DO NOT place a comma after a coordinating conjunction that joins independent clauses. DO NOT place a comma between two independent clauses without a coordinating conjunction (comma splice).
EXAMPLE: The moving van led the way, and we followed in the car.
EXAMPLE: I’ll join you in Florida as soon as I can, but I have a week’s worth of work to do first.
RULE 2: Use a comma after introductory words, phrases, and clauses. If the introductory element is short and cannot cause confusion, you may omit the comma.
EXAMPLE: As soon as I’ve finished my paper, I’ll join you for dinner.
EXAMPLE: If you have any questions, please let me know.
RULE 3: Use a comma to separate items in a series (three or more elements).
EXAMPLE: Guests will need, pillows, linens, and towels.
However, if the items themselves contain commas, use semi-colons.
Example: If it’s a bakery, they have to sell cake; if it’s a photography shop, they have to develop film; and if it’s a dry-goods store, they have to sell warm underwear.
RULE 4: Use a comma with coordinate adjectives.
TEST # 1: If the order of the adjectives could be reversed without changing the meaning, use a comma between them.
TEST # 2: If and could be inserted between the adjectives without changing the meaning, use a comma.
EXAMPLE: On a cold, dark, gray day, the rescue workers began their search for the missing child.
RULE 5: Use a comma with nonrestrictive (nonessential) elements.
EXAMPLE: Her father, who ran a grocery store for thirty years, retired this week.
EXAMPLE: Joe’s remark, which was not meant to be unkind, offended Jan.
RULE 6: Use a comma to set off transitional and parenthetical expressions, contrasts, words of direct address, and tag sentences.
Transitional expressions – see pages 84 and 162 in S&S
EXAMPLE: I disagree strongly. I plan, moreover, to speak against your proposal in the meeting. However, I wanted to tell you of my objection personally.
Contrast – states what is not the case
EXAMPLE: Many students are interested only in a degree, not in an education.
Direct address – names the person or persons being spoken to
EXAMPLE: Beth, you must realize that you are partially responsible.
EXAMPLE: Spring, I believe, has finally come to stay.
RULE 7: Use a comma to separate quoted material from explanatory words. This is NOT necessary if you have integrated the quoted material into the sentence’s grammatical structure.
EXAMPLE: After a pause, he said, “I’ll join you shortly.”
EXAMPLE: “Not that complaint again,” she protested.