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Lesson Topic: Using Commas , I love ice cream. I love chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.

Many people are not sure when to use a comma. Look at the above sentence. Should the comma before the and be there? That is an easy question if you know the rules. You will find a list of rules below which can answer most of your questions. Before we begin, let's first explain what independent and dependent clauses are. An independent clause is a part of a sentence that has both a subject and a verb AND can be a sentence all by itself. Example: I wanted to go where Frank lives. What you have above are 2 parts: Part 1 -- I wanted to go Part 2 -- where Frank lives Question: Can part 1 be a sentence by itself? Does part 1 need part 2? Not really. Although part 2 certainly adds important information, part 1 could still be a sentence by itself. The following sentence is grammatically and logically correct. I wanted to go. Because part 1 does not need anything else to be a complete sentence, we call it an independent clause. Now look at part 2. Can part 2 be a sentence by itself? Can one write the following sentence? Where Frank lives. Is this a complete sentence? No. It needs something else. It is, therefore, a dependent clause. Rules for Commas 1. Use a comma to separate 2 independent clauses joined by for or *when so means as a result Example: Jenny wants to help feed the poor, so she is planning on going to Africa this summer. The doctor would like to see you, but he has been at the hospital all day. and yet nor so* but

2. unnecessary word. 5. If there is a list of three or more items. smart man. When Mei was in Taiwan.When the 2 independent clauses are very short. it is still okay. there is a comma after them. who is a Harvard graduate. If there are two or more adjectives in a row. but Carol likes chocolate cake. and strawberries. there is NO COMMA if the clause is after the independent clause. plans on retiring at the end of the month. Though George is president of the company. These words are called subordinating conjunctions. or unnecessary phrase AND an independent clause are put together. bananas. don't use a comma. he can still be fired. I cannot guarantee you a room. Joseph likes cheese cake but Carol likes chocolate cake. you come back to this hotel. Sir. she often wrote to me. though. some people don't use commas. *NOTE: When using the above words unless. “I loved visiting China and Korea. if you use a comma.) Mark said. (Want more information about quotations and quotation marks? Click here. However. Joseph likes cheese cake. (Don't know what an adjective clause is? Click here. . When a dependent clause. use a comma.) The president of the company. 3. 6. Therefore. Unless I see you. To see a list of more subordinating conjunctions. This rule applies to all subordinating conjunctions. click here. George can still be fired though he is president of the company. When an adjective clause is unnecessary. Mom bought grapes and bananas. (no commas) Mom bought grapes. there is usually a comma. Tim is a handsome. The first parts are dependent clauses.” 7. *NOTE: When the name is with an important term of identification. Use commas before a direct quote. I won't go unless I see you. When. A name or title that is used to address or call a person to attention. I won't go. use commas. 4. Mei often wrote to me when she was in Taiwan. and when.

9. It seems that it will snow today because of the cold weather and red sky. Rebecca asked "Can we go to the restaurant?" 4. 8. 3. 10. he got an A+. 7. Consequently. 1. When you meet people for the first time never talk about religion politics and a bad boss. Therefore. A comma usually follows a transition word. Robert studied for a whole week. he earned enough money to travel the whole summer Quiz Time Directions: Put commas in the sentences below. 2. Japanese is food is healthy light and not very oily. Jake worked 12 hours a day. Then click the hyperlink to get the answers. Ivan the Terrible is considered one of the most feared people in history.Billy the Kid Alexander the Great Jack the Ripper 8. If you would like to travel first class Madam that will cost an extra $300. My best friend who comes from Egypt is a very nice guy. There was fear that another big war would start so the United Nations was formed. Even if it takes all day I am going to fix the roof. . 5. 6. Jim wants to see a movie but Carol wants to stay home.

Answer: My best friend. When you meet people for the first time never talk about religion politics or a bad boss. Japanese is food is healthy light and not very oily. Answer: Japanese is food is healthy.1. Even if it takes all day I am going to fix the roof. is a very nice guy. light. If you would like to travel first class Madam that will cost an extra $300. or a bad boss. who comes from Egypt. Madam. Answer: Even if it takes all day. 9. It seems that it will snow today because of the cold weather and red sky. Jim wants to see a movie but Carol wants to stay home. 5. Ivan the Terrible is considered one of the most feared people in history. Answer: Ivan the Terrible is considered one of the most feared people in history. that will cost an extra $300. 6. (NO COMMAS) 2. -OR- Jim wants to see a movie. Answer: When you meet people for the first time. 3. Rebecca asked "Can we go to the restaurant? Answer: Rebecca asked. 10. never talk about religion. My best friend who comes from Egypt is a very nice guy. and not very oily. 8. Answer: It seems that it will snow today because of the cold weather and red sky. I am going to fix the roof. Answer: There was fear that another big war would start. Answer: If you would like to travel first class. but Carol wants to stay home . so the United Nations was formed. (NO COMMAS) 7. politics. "Can we go to the restaurant? 4. Answers: Jim wants to see a movie but Carol wants to stay home. There was fear that another big war would start so the United Nations was formed.