Let’s Have Fun with Commas Really…no kidding… Why was the comma invented? The comma was invented to help readers. Without the comma a sentence can cause confusion. Confusing: While we were eating a rattlesnake approached our campsite. • By adding a comma, the sentence is no longer confusing and we are no longer eating the rattlesnake. • Correct: While we were eating, a rattlesnake approached our campsite. Commas can save lives… Lets eat Grandpa! Lets eat, Grandpa! Examples "You have no idea what I think” "You have no idea what, I think". "Jane claimed John made the mess” "Jane, claimed John, made the mess.” "A pretty tall girl” "A pretty, tall girl” Examples "Birds that migrate occasionally fly high“ "Birds that migrate occasionally, fly high” "Birds that migrate, occasionally fly high." "The year before John went away” "The year before, John went away.” Examples "John and Jane did not marry because they wanted security“ "John and Jane did not marry, because they wanted security." (The first implies that they did marry, the second that they did not.) Tyrone wants to send his girl friend a message that he wrote as: "How I long for a girl who understands what true romance is all about.You are sweet and faithful. Girls who are unlike you kiss the first boy who comes along, Adorabelle. I'd like to praise your beauty forever. I can't stop thinking you are the prettiest girl alive. Thine, Tyrone." Unfortunately, Tyrone read the message to Adorabelle's sister over the phone. She wrote it down, but had no idea how to punctuate in such a way as would capture Tyrone's meaning. Poor Adorabelle received this message: "How I long for a girl who understands what true romance is. All about you are sweet and faithful girls who are unlike you. Kiss the first boy who comes along, Adorabelle. I'd like to praise your beauty forever. I can't. Stop thinking you are the prettiest girl alive. Thine, Tyrone." Important Put a comma before a coordinating conjunction (FANBOYS) that separates two independent clauses. My friend is gone , but he will return soon. Coordinating Conjunction Coordinating conjunctions are used to connect equal elements in one sentence. Coordinating conjunction are: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so Examples: Josée is ill, but she will still go to school. Luc will play hockey this weekend, and he will still go see a movie Sunday night. Independent clauses. Definition: An independent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought. An independent clause is a sentence. Example: Julien studied at Starbucks for his Math quiz. Where to place the comma? Do not forget that you must put a comma before a coordinating conjunction that separates two independent clauses. Example: We washed the dog and cleaned up his mess. Independent clause Not an independent clause (cannot stand alone) We washed the dog, and we cleaned up his mess. Independent clause Independent clause Put a comma after introductory words, phrases, or clauses in a sentence. The introductory words usually tell when, where, how, why, or under what conditions the main action of the sentence occurred. Examples: When Dally was ready to iron, his cat tripped on the cord. Near a small stream at the bottom of the canyon, the park rangers discovered an abandoned mine. While we were eating, a huge delivery truck drove right onto our front lawn. Use a comma between all items in a series. When 3 or more items are presented in a series, those items should be separated with a comma. Examples: Dresses, shoes, veils, and jewellery are often found in a bridal store. Vicky is afraid of ghosts, the dark, and of being trapped in an elevator. This recipe contains paprika, basil, pepper, sugar, and a dash of ear wax. Use commas to set off elements that interrupt or add information in a sentence. Examples: Joan and Jaimie went to the mall; however, they did not buy any clothes. Thomas went to London, not Australia, for his summer vacation. Avoid Comma Splices. A comma splice is two or more independent clauses joined by a comma without a coordinating conjunction. Use a semicolon (;) when you link two independent clauses with no connecting words. Example: Air pollution is a risk to all humans it can be deadly for asthma sufferers. Independent clause Independent clause Correct: Air pollution is a risk to all humans; therefore, it can be deadly for asthma sufferers. DO NOT use commas AFTER a coordinating conjunction (FANBOYS) I have an Ipod, but, I do not have a sound dock. AFTER such as or like Many shade-loving plants, such as, begonias, impatiens, and coleus, can add colour to a shady garden. BEFORE than Touring Crete was more thrilling for us, than visiting the Greek islands frequented by rich Europeans. AFTER although Although, the air was balmy, the water was too cold for swimming.
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