Correct: I loved playing tennis; my brother, volleyball. The fact that those cars are leased is not essential to the meaning of the sentence. Normally a parenthetical element has a comma before and after it. She purchased the car but not the extended warranty. From a comma perspective you only need to worry about ones that function as adverbs. But be careful that the phrase is not acting as a noun. Sadly, ... Use a comma after sentence adverbs but skip it after adverbs modifying verbs. (ambiguous). The traditional approach, advocated by William Strunk Jr. in The Elements of Style, removes the comma after the conjunction. In case you deal with the month-date-year format, a comma is always required to follow the year. between a county and a state, e.g. Correct: I couldn't come because of the traffic, but because my car broke down. Example: To read more, please subscribe to our newsletter. after, although, as, as if, as long as). On the other hand, you could say that's great news as you'll never be wrong. I"ll give you some counterexamples in the following sentences where there's no comma needed before "instead". Rule: If the dependent clause comes before the independent clause, separate it with a comma. I originally wanted to be a rock star; in the end, I decided to become an investment banker. How to use an Oxford (or serial) comma. The comma rules you need to know for participle phrases are: For participial phrases before the main clause, put a comma after the participial phrase. He said that "the country will continue to grow. add one if the following phrase is an independent clause. Rule: Do not use a comma before a coordinating conjunction if the sentence contains only one independent clause. In the US, many style guides suggest that you should use "that" rather than "which" for restrictive clauses, e.g. If you just have a month and a year or a month and a day, using commas after dates depends on context: Note: you might also find these prepositional phrases in the middle of sentences after a conjunction, e.g. They argue that whatever is inside a pair of commas should be capable of being removed without turning the sentence into nonsense. Though not necessarily mechanical, the use of commas in lists is well established. What is a comma splice and how do you fix it? In that case then it follows the rules for "because" outlined above, i.e. Explanation: In this case, all of John’s cars are dirty. It is necessary for understanding the meaning of the sentence. Example: I will visit the Tower if I go to London. Incorrect: More than 50000 people turned up to protest. The prime minister’s plan seemed quickly and sloppily put together, and when they saw it, the opposition party immediately attacked it. between a county and a country, e.g. You will be joining us for dinner, won’t you? When a nonessential word or phrase occurs in the middle of a sentence, it should be set off with commas. When it is in the middle of a sentence, you should use commas (i.e., one at the start and one at the end) if you think the commas will help the reader. Because of the thunderstorm, our flight has been delayed. The team in which we played was great. Is it one course covering both microeconomics and macroeconomics, or is it two separate courses? Should I use a comma between a city and a country/a city and a state? If the appositive occurs in the middle of the sentence, both sides of the phrase need a comma. 12 May 2012, then there is no need to include commas in the date. The two forms of participle phrase you can see here are: Present participle (always ending -ing), e.g. Example: Upset by his cousin, he went home. You should use a comma between two adjectives when they are coordinate adjectives. This is the definitive list: Before a coordinating conjunction when it separates two independent clauses. (as an Oxford comma) Sometimes, the comma indicates a pause that would occur if the sentence were spoken aloud. Just as terminal punctuation comes at the end of a sentence, mid-sentence punctuation is used somewhere in the middle. When using the word too, you only need to use a comma before it for emphasis. Incorrect: He ate dinner, and awoke refreshed. Did you like the candidateâs answer to the question "Why do you want to work for our company?" Incorrect: I was born on Saturday October 8 1977. Slightly more complex is the question of whether you should use a comma before "while." Rule: Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction that joins two independent clauses. John’s cars, which are leased, are never kept clean. Incorrect: I couldn't come because of the traffic. The rules are easiest to learn and deploy if you first understand four common sentence types: compound, simple, complex, and compound-complex. I live in Liverpool, England. In this case there are two independent clauses as I could write: "He is great." The other approach is to introduce a semicolon. Explanation: The writer has only one brother. A grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor in one package. Do you need a comma before or after "too"? There are two schools of thought on how best to lighten the punctuation of such a sentence. And, if you are using a conjunction at the beginning of a sentence (like we just did), you should only put a comma after it if it is going to be the first in a series of commas. Incorrect: The suit to be fair, suited him. I will give the document to my brother Tom. Exception to the rule: When the independent clauses are closely connected and short, you may omit the comma. To understand if you should use a comma before which we need to understand the difference between a restrictive and a non-restrictive clause. Not can also be used as a simple adjective. Incorrect: The fruit, which everyone found tasty was my best idea. Examples The guests, who were all close friends of the president, refused to speak about the events that evening. Rewrite them to be unambiguous. The guests who arrived more than an hour late were greeted coolly by the host. A comma is used before an "and" only if it is used to separate two independent clauses, or if it is used as an Oxford comma to separate the last item in a list of three or more things. Participle phrases are phrases that modify a noun or pronoun. Because coordinate adjectives are equally important, they are separated by a comma. The store closed its doors for good on Wednesday, October 15, 1958. In some circumstances, you may use a comma before a conjunction such as "and" when it starts a dependent clause. Correct: Although you're ready, we must wait. walking, hoping. Just bookmark this article in case you ever get confused by a comma again. In that case then it follows the rules for "because" outlined above, i.e. Dates and commas Style guides differ on how to use commas with a month-day-year date (the American style) in the middle of a sentence , but the standard practice in U.S. publications is to place a comma after the day and another after the yearâfor example: (not an Oxford comma). In the example immediately above, the serial comma makes it clear that the writer is taking two separate economics courses next semester. This is a compound sentence (i.e., one with two independent clauses joined by the conjunction but), the rule for which is to insert a comma before the conjunction. 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