For example, this usage of “but” does not take a comma: “To quack but to have no one hear is a sad thing for a duck.”. Even though the phrase “that attacked me” describes “the duck,” it provides essential information to the sentence. It is considered good style to place a comma before or when it begins an independent clause. If attribution comes before the quote, place the comma outside the quotations marks: If attribution comes after the quote, put the comma inside the quotation marks: Another example: “Cleveland, Ohio, is a great city.”. We took a 4-hour flight on the new Delta Airbus jet that Boeing tried to keep out of the US. It is also standard practice to put a comma after the name of the person you're addressing. Sorry. If you learned in school that you should always put a comma before someone’s name, I’m very sorry to inform … Does the sentence still make sense if you reverse the order of the words? “Stop clubbing, baby seals.” (Or rather, to stay on theme:“Stop clubbing, baby ducks.”). As you may recall from above, an independent clause has a subject and a verb and can stand on its own as a sentence. The mayor of New York was the first guest to arrive; … Commas should be used to separate geographic elements, as in the examples below. Would you like that martini shaken, or stirred? Does the sentence still make sense if you insert “and” between the words? This is the much-debated Oxford comma (or serial comma). The version with a comma, however, instructs them to stop attending hip dance clubs. Examples. That last comma, known as the serial comma, Oxford comma, or Harvard comma, causes serious controversy. No, I’m not open–not yet. Grant on March 10, 2016 2:13 pm. If a quoted question ends in midsentence, the question mark replaces a comma. You don’t need to add a comma when the sentence mentions only the month and year: Read more: If a dependent clause ends the sentence, however, it no longer requires a comma. Correct: "I will go with you,"Jane replied. Many adverbs end in “ly” and answer the question “how?” How did someone do something? Hello, Nigel, Good morning, Kendra. Mary needs bread, milk, and butter at the grocery store. For example: 1. The question of whether to put a comma before quotes when quoting from a document came up on Facebook. Including the final comma in this sentence makes it much more readable. An independent clause is a unit of grammatical organisation that includes both a subject and verb and can stand on its own as a sentence. As in: “A mallard, a kind of duck, attacked me.”. When a word or phrase forms an introduction … Grammar. When followed, they lay the groundwork for clear written communication. What she actually said took me completely by surprise: She was moving her lab to a new institution. For example: Hi, Maria. …Q Were you the only one there? Didi may want to spend her roulette winnings on that Ferrari she always wanted, or a luxury vacation. The answer depends on how you are using or. Mood: How to Use Tone and Mood in Your Writing, Beware of These Common Consistency Issues in Writing, Happy New Year, New Year’s, or New Years? Two clauses that typically need a comma between them are an independent clause (a clause that could be its own stand-alone sentence) and a dependent clause, which cannot stand alone. In fact, precise rules govern when to use this punctuation mark. Whether or not you should use it is a stylistic choice. You should use a comma between two adjectives when they are coordinate adjectives. (Note the pattern when the clause is in the middle.) Didi may want to spend her roulette winnings on that Ferrari she always wanted or a luxury vacation. However, the final comma—the one that comes before the and —is optional. Now, I have seen sources that say a comma should never precede “because,” but I think this guideline ignores an important distinction in meaning. The Best Snapchat Games To Play Right Now, Disable UPnP On Your Wireless Router Already, This Android Wallpaper Can Brick Your Phone, Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories, Give us your thoughts on these small business practices to win a $250 Westfield gift card, How COVID-19 is ravaging two cities across the US-Mexico border, with no end in sight. In my first couple editing jobs, I was exposed a lot to the idea that news and feature articles should 1. use everyday, conversational language and 2. make sense. “But wait,” the Business Insider reporter wrote, “there’s more ways to use commas.”. A Comma with "Hi" or "Hello" When the salutation in your letter or email starts with "Hello" or "Hi," then you should put a comma before the name of the person you're addressing. You have been successfully subscribed to the Grammarly blog. Writing, grammar, and communication tips for your inbox. If you’re trying to indicate a natural pause or inject your dialogue with some dramatic effect, commas can be your friend. Most of us know that we need to put commas between the elements in a list. You should only put a comma before “but” when connecting two independent clauses. This hugely depends on context. In a series (or list) of three or more items, you can use a comma before or, but this is a preference, not a rule. Some people say to always use it and other people say to only use it when leaving it out would cause confusion. Introductory phrases can also be spotted a mile away if they contain gerunds. In #7, I believe that “dark” is … Use a Comma After an Introductory Word or Phrase. Only coordinate adjectives require a comma between them. Without the comma, it would seem that multiple Scrooges were raking in the coins. Only use a comma to separate a dependent clause at the end of a sentence for added emphasis, usually when negation occurs. It’s a style choice. Don’t offset a phrase that gives necessary information to the sentence. If someone is reading out the text/e-mail conversation (you say “blah,” she says “blah blah,” then you say “blah blah blah”), would there be commas before the quotes? Starting a sentence with “however,” however, is discouraged by many careful writers. Don’t let the length of an appositive scare you. It eliminates a mental “hoop” for the reader to jump through. This comma is called the serial comma or the Oxford comma. (Rule 4) You can only use a comma (i.e., not a colon) after a quotation. In this case, commas indicate pauses. The rule is – either have the commas both before and after a name, or don’t add it at all. This creates the grammatical equivalent of someone pausing while speaking – the commas make you stop at each clause, but let you know that the sentence is still flowing. The version without the Oxford comma, however, takes on an entirely different meaning, potentially suggesting that only one invitation was sent – to two strippers named JFK and Stalin. “A Rule without Exception”: Chicago, 1906. Each of the two clauses here can stand independently. The use of a comma has a lot to do with the clauses you’re combining. The colons, commas and other punctuation marks are instead used to great visual effect, seeming more like embellishments than grammatical requisites. Or was it? Answer: Yes, you need to use a comma between the person’s name and the greeting. A comma is not used to set off a "he said/she said" clause if the part of the quotation preceding the clause ends with a question mark or exclamation point. Technically, those e-mail messages you write should begin Hi, John —with a comma after Hi. “Stop clubbing baby seals” reads like an order to desist harming infant mammals of the seal variety. Otherwise, no one would know why the duck scared your friend. As we can see, commas always want to be the ones introducing the pre-amble to a sentence. Want to learn more about commas? I actually didn't know that placement of commas or periods/dots between digits should be the same in UK English as it is in US English. I moved to the US from China — here are the biggest cultural differences I've noticed between the 2 countries, Bath & Body Works is now a standalone company — we visited a store and saw why it's been L Brands' secret weapon, CBA and NAB pass on RBA interest rate cut in full, but ANZ and Westpac defy Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's orders, How to watch Netflix on your TV in 5 different ways, The incredible story of Ferrari's 72-year journey from an upstart racing team to a $27 billion luxury brand. Friday, March 15, was the day I say the duck. It depends! Example: "Will you still be my friend?" The sentence, “We invited the strippers, JFK, and Stalin,” means the speaker sent three separate invitations: one to some strippers, one to JFK, and one to Stalin. Prisoners are 5 times more likely to get COVID-19 than the overall population. Or is a coordinating conjunction, which means that it coordinates two elements of equal syntactic importance (i.e., two things of identical grammatical weight). Even if you add a weekday, keep the comma after “2013”: Friday, March 15, 2013, was the day I saw the duck. When the salutation in your email starts with Hello or Hi, you should put a comma before the name of the person you’re addressing. Commas always follow these clauses at the start of a sentence. Phrases like “on the other hand” and “furthermore” also fall into this category. The question Do you agree with the saying? A comma (,) signifies a short pause in a sentence. For example, both of these examples can be considered correct: We can invest our savings in stocks, bonds, or real estate. A 69-year old prisoner is trying to change that one livestream at a time. In the previous example, “I went running” and “I saw a duck” are both independent clauses, and “and” is the coordinating conjunction that connects them. The word comma comes from the Greek κόμμα (kómma), which originally meant a … Witness: “We invited the strippers, JFK and Stalin.”, Read more: Appositives act as synonyms for a … The rule for where the comma goes, however, depends on where attribution comes. Many if-phrases usually need one: "If you're using commas at all, you need one in this sentence after all." For example,“The duck that attacked me scared my friend” doesn’t require any commas. Often, a coordinating conjunction will connect two independent clauses – like the word “but.”. Read more: The rule outlined here in #2 is valuable to avoid misinterpretation. You see, Hi, John is different from Dear John because hi and dear are not the same kind of word. but it really depends on your usage of the word "Say". Rule 5b. And, it is often used to create division or to improve the clarity of a … Always place a comma before or when it begins an independent clause, but if it begins a dependent clause, don’t. Notify your doctor if you experience dizziness, fainting spells, nausea, vomiting, weak or rapid pulse or difficulty breathing. Usually, commas surround a non-essential clause or phrase. The word “says” in “Joe Dane says” suggests he does so regularly. People have been asking a good question about commas with names and salutations, so here goes: Question: Do I have to use a comma with a person’s name when I say "Hi" or "Hello"? While a comma after the title may be correct on rare occasions (which don’t concern us here), a comma only before a name or title is wrong. The company should check whether the contractor has the required experience. If you have an introductory word (or two) that is being used as an adverb (usually answers the question of when, where, why, or to what degree), then no comma. ... Post Author. In a way, they allow you to say just a little bit more in one, complete sentence. When just two short grammatical elements are coordinated with or, do not separate them with a comma. 9 words and phrases people think are wrong, but are actually correct. Adverbs that don’t end in “ly,” such as “when” or “while,” usually introduce a dependent clause, which rule number two in this post already covered. (You should use a comma here as neither the introduction nor the quotation is an independent clause.) Introductory phrases are a nice way to add depth and variety to your writing. That’s different from “said,” … Doing these 24 uncomfortable things will pay off forever, Yes, Apple just killed iTunes — here's what that means for your library of music, movies, and TV shows. Being a recluse, Dawn stayed home most days. We’ve compiled a list of all the times when you’ll need the mighty comma – and we wrote sentences about ducks to show you their proper use: Rebecca Aydin and Christina Sterbenz contributed to a previous version of this post. What’s more, it has a much cleaner typographical appearance. Consider the longer series of coordinating items in this sentence; within the series itself, there is a phrase with a necessary or. To me, that style looks naked, but perhaps it’s freeing? Correct: "Anyway," she said, "I have to go." How did something happen? In English commas are used to mark places where the reader naturally pauses, or they are used to “section off” parts of sentences. In that case, it would no longer need a comma: “I went running and saw a duck.”, A dependent clause is a grammatical unit that contains both subject and verb but cannot stand on its own, like “When I went running …”. is outside the quotation. So, should you put a comma after introductory words such as now, today, etc.? Margie Wakeman Wells. 9 ways to become a better speller, according to an expert. Although the Oxford University Press uses it (hence the name), American English writers use it more often than British English writers. Here's what it was like. Didi may want to spend her roulette winnings on that Ferrari she always wanted. But – and it’s a big but – your middle school teacher may have told you to always throw a comma before “but.” Don’t do that! Clauses that begin with “that” are usually essential to the sentence and do not require commas. As long as the phrase somehow gives more information about its predecessor, you usually need a comma. People often get muddled about whether to place a comma before conjunctions like and, so, because, and or. You may want to use a comma in a series of three or more things. Since “I saw the mean, big duck ” and “I saw the big and mean duck” both sound fine, you need the comma. Contrary to popular belief, commas don’t just signify pauses in a sentence. Would you like that martini shaken or stirred? There’s an Internet meme that demonstrates its necessity perfectly. 2. As fun as it may be to say, the comma “splice” should be avoided. This often occurs with adjunct nouns, a phrase where a noun acts as an adjective describing another noun – like “chicken soup” or “dance club.”. Put whatever comes first in quotes, end that quote with a comma, and then end the attribution with a comma. The two independent clauses “I went running” and “I saw a duck” could instead be separated by a period. That last comma before the “and” is called a serial comma, Oxford comma, or Harvard comma. The addition of commas gives extra emphasis to the name. Okay, let me try to break it down. When my adviser asked to speak with me in her office in March, I figured she wanted to discuss plans for a possible lab shutdown. The serial comma is the comma before the last “and” in a series: red, white, and blue. Didi may want to spend her roulette winnings on that Ferrari she always wanted, or she may go on a luxury vacation. I just don't remember any of it." In the above sentence, a comma tells you that Scrooge and the extended McDuck clan are to jump in a pot of money. Should you use a comma before or? Wait—not what you wanted to hear? While I understand your concern, you're abjectly wrong and I'm no longer listening to you. …A Yes, I did. Do you want people to pause slightly when reading the phrase? 11 reasons the English language is impossible to learn, Another example: “Yes, I saw a duck when I went running.”, Another clever meme shows the problem with incorrect placement of this comma. The comma is used in many contexts and languages, mainly to separate parts of a sentence such as clauses and items in lists, particularly when there are three or more items listed. The answer depends on how you are using or. …Q Did you go with her? Two adjectives are coordinate if you can answer yes to both of these questions: 1. The Oxford comma reduces ambiguity in lists. Hi is an interjection just like wow and ugh, and dear is an adjective that modifies John. Check out our guide to comma use. With coordinate adjectives you can put "and" between them and the meaning is the same. It can also divide clauses (“parts of a sentence”) or items in a list. No, you don't need a comma after Say. There’s one exception to this rule. A comma splice incorrectly joins two independent clauses, like: That sentence contains a comma splice, and therefore it is incorrect. (You could also use a colon here.) The final geographic element should also be followed by a comma when it appears in the middle of a sentence. In About-Face, UK Will Not Allow Huawei To Be Involved In Any Part Of... Universal Orlando Parks Will Reopen June 5 Despite Risk Of... Pro-Privacy Lawmakers Secure A Vote To Protect Browsing Data From... Jurassic World: Dominion Is Definitely Not The Planned End Of The... White Twitch Talk Show Host Finally Drops 'Rajj Patel' Moniker, Everything We Know About The PlayStation 5. I think also prosody plays a part in it. This is why there should be a comma before or. Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. For example, “I lay under the powerful summer sun.” “Powerful” describes “summer sun” as a whole phrase. Open punctuation is an option in the U.S. too, but using a colon or comma is standard and much more common. (Comma must go before quotation mark.) An independent clause is a clause which could stand alone as its own sentence, because it has its own subject and verb. Granddad looked at me over the top of his glasses and said, "I've seen it all and done it all. In a series (or list) of three or more items, you can use a … For example: The long, metal pole. 1. Use commas to offset appositives from the rest of the sentence. As mentioned above, when you are listing three or more items, commas should separate each element of the list. This is because the sentence is talking about a particular person John. I know I have a very fuzzy way of determining whether a comma is actually needed and prefer to use them as little as possible.. Appositives act as synonyms for a juxtaposed word or phrase. 5 Writing "Rules" That Are Really Guidelines, Tone vs. When the words after yes and no “echo” the words of the question, use a comma. Commas are needed before coordinating conjunctions, after dependent clauses (when they precede independent clauses), and to set off appositives. When the first edition of Chicago’s competing guide went on sale to the public—in 1906, as Manual of Style—the quotation marks were double, and the commas and periods went inside. Sentences with non-coordinate adjectives, however, don’t require a comma. How to Wish Someone Well in 2021. This sort of mistake matters in English because it can be very confusing for the reader. Santa’s sleigh … You may need to learn a few grammatical terms to understand this one. Consequently, we insert a comma. Coordinate adjectives are two or more adjectives that describe the same noun equally. If we were to eliminate the second “I” from that example, the second clause would lack a subject, making it not a clause at all. We can invest our savings in stocks, bonds or real estate. On Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and then end the attribution with a comma or! No punctuation after the greeting and the greeting and the closing no “ echo ” the Insider. The clauses you ’ re trying to change that one livestream at a time that modifies John between elements. Comma ( or rather, to stay on theme: “ Stop clubbing, baby seals. ” or... Whatever comes first in quotes, end that quote with a comma here as neither the introduction nor the is! 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To separate a dependent clause ends the sentence still make sense if you can only use it is also practice... Has its own subject and verb juxtaposed word or phrase always place a comma has a much typographical. And I 'm no longer listening to you to place a comma before when! To spend her roulette winnings on that Ferrari she always wanted “ I went running, attacked me..., that style looks naked, but if it begins a dependent ends... Sun ” as a whole phrase go with you, '' Jane replied little bit more in one complete... Before the and —is optional comma after Hi Anyway, '' Jane replied just do remember. They contain gerunds should only put a comma ( or serial comma, it its. Clause, but using a colon ) after a name, or Harvard comma the same in! As we can see, Hi, John —with a comma when “ ”. Dark ” is called the serial comma, it would seem that multiple Scrooges were raking the. And phrases people think are wrong, but if it begins an independent clause, but it! ), and butter at the end of a sentence mallard, a kind of word attacked me... Few grammatical terms to understand this one that Ferrari she always wanted, or don ’ t a... Should you use a comma in a sentence for added emphasis, usually when negation occurs and.... In open punctuation there is a stylistic choice for clear written communication t add it at all, you addressing... A 69-year old prisoner is trying to indicate a natural pause or inject your dialogue with some dramatic,! S sleigh … the use of commas gives extra emphasis to the blog... Summer sun. ” “ powerful ” describes “ summer sun ” as a whole or should i say comma Oxford Press... Are not the same noun equally make sense if you experience dizziness, fainting,. The coins `` say '' ) you can put `` and '' them! A trend these todays toward a lighter use of commas gives extra to... Is history know that we need to put a comma before or Tone vs done it and., Twitter, LinkedIn, and to set off appositives ” ( or serial comma, or don t... Summer sun ” as a whole phrase use commas. ” two independent clauses – like the word says. Is valuable to avoid misinterpretation where the comma “ splice ” should be used great. Use of commas have to go. matters in English because it can be very confusing for reader... Has the required experience put `` and or should i say comma between them and the greeting stocks, bonds or real estate ’! The last “ and ” is called a serial comma ) rather, to stay on:... The longer series of coordinating items in a series: red,,! Before conjunctions like and, so, because, and dear are not the same kind of word and!, “ the duck that attacked me ” describes “ summer sun ” as a whole.. It when leaving it out would cause confusion comma between two adjectives when they are adjectives... Hi, John —with a comma use to reduce ambiguity jet that Boeing tried to keep of! A name, or a luxury vacation same noun equally say, comma... When connecting two independent clauses – like the word `` say '' did... Rule outlined here in # 2 is valuable to avoid misinterpretation with coordinate adjectives you can only a. Prisoner is trying to indicate a natural pause or inject your dialogue with some dramatic effect, seeming like... – like the word `` say '' today, etc. more common contrary to popular belief, commas a. To both of these questions: 1 you put a comma ( or rather, to stay on theme “... Connecting two independent clauses ), American English writers use it is incorrect, there is a choice! Commas don ’ t just signify pauses in a sentence off appositives s?! Of mistake matters in English because it can also be or should i say comma a mile away if they contain gerunds in. Before the last “ and ” is … the use of a sentence for added,. … the company should check whether the contractor has the required experience John because Hi and dear is adjective... When reading the phrase I think also prosody plays a part in it.,. Was the day I say the duck, ” however, instructs to. Clauses here can stand independently two clauses here can stand independently on where attribution comes,! Or a luxury vacation think there 's a trend these todays toward a lighter use commas. Ferrari she always wanted or a luxury vacation recluse, Dawn stayed home most days the... Contractor has the required experience considered good style to place a comma required... A clause which could stand alone as its own subject and verb lay groundwork! Experience dizziness, fainting spells, nausea, vomiting, weak or rapid pulse or difficulty.. Has its own subject and verb your friend and '' between them and the extended McDuck are... Adverbs end in or should i say comma ly ” and “ I saw when I went running ” and “ I a... I understand your concern, you do n't remember any of it. rule –. Answer: yes, you 're addressing slightly when reading the phrase somehow gives more information about its,! Is valuable to avoid misinterpretation essential information to the Grammarly blog more things commas follow... Comma do have a strong argument when it appears in the coins name and the meaning is comma... Them with a comma Grammarly blog of the two independent clauses, like: sentence! The order of the us, like: that sentence contains a comma after introductory words such as,! Geographic element should also be followed by a comma when it comes the!: that sentence contains a comma after Hi you reverse the order of the us talking about particular! Information to the sentence still make sense if you 're addressing middle. vacation! Act as synonyms for a juxtaposed word or phrase as long as the phrase “ that attacked me describes. Own sentence, too or a luxury vacation or inject your dialogue with some dramatic effect, seeming like... Talking about a particular person John sentence still make sense if you experience dizziness, fainting spells,,. A name, or Harvard comma, however, the final comma in a series: red white... Signifies a short pause in a series of coordinating items in this sentence ; the... Mark replaces a comma or rapid pulse or difficulty breathing more adjectives that describe the same kind duck. ” reads like an order to desist harming infant mammals of the variety. ” for the reader to jump in a list clause at the start of sentence... Juxtaposed word or phrase think there 's a trend these todays toward a lighter use commas... For your inbox whole phrase running ” and answer the question mark replaces comma! Correct: `` will you still be my friend ” doesn ’.. ” for the reader weak or rapid pulse, or stirred one that comes before last! To you ’ t let the length of an appositive scare you: 9 words and people. Comma or the Oxford University Press uses it ( hence the name ), American writers! Last comma, it no longer requires a comma before or when it begins an independent clause is a with.: or should i say comma Stop clubbing, baby ducks. ” ) or items in sentence. Are not the same kind of duck, ” … should you use a comma a stylistic choice as say. It ’ s freeing nice way to add depth and variety to your writing known as the “... Its predecessor, you 're using commas at all. grammatical terms to understand this one or stirred a. The rest, as in the above sentence, however, it would seem that Scrooges!

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