You are on page 1of 2

Using Commas for Clear Communication

You have been reading about the comma in Chapter 5 and in the “Review the Basics” section of our textbook, pages 395-397. Learning to use the comma in four common sentence constructions will improve your ability to write clear sentences and avoid writing run-ons and unintended fragments. Review the four common uses of the comma; then complete the exercise below. Save the exercise and submit it to the Dropbox in Week 5.

1) Use a comma before a conjunction to join two independent clauses (meaning two complete

thoughts) into one sentence. (Because there are two complete thoughts, this sentence type is called a compound sentence.) Coordinating conjunctions: and, but, so, or, nor, yet, for. Example: Your boss may become unhappy with employees for being late, so it is wise to arrive a few minutes early.

2) Use a comma after an introductory word, phrase, or dependent clause to separate it from the rest
of the sentence Example: Furthermore, the graduating seniors went on to find jobs in their fields and earn top salaries. Example: On the night of the graduation, the moon and the stars seemed especially bright. Example: When we focus on our goals, the little stresses become more bearable.

3) Use commas around words, phrases, and dependent clauses that interrupt the flow of the
sentence and are not essential to the meaning of the sentence. Example: The lunch break, though only thirty minutes long, is a good time to step outside and breathe some fresh air.

4) Use commas between items in a series (3 or more).
Example: The employees completed the forms for health insurance, retirement plans, and tax deductions.

Exercise in Using Commas

The new boss listened to the employees but he took his time making a decision. ___________ 5. or dependent clause from the rest of the sentence c. To join two independent clauses (along with a conjunction) b. To separate an interruption from the rest of the sentence d. To separate an introductory word. phrase. The office building which was all white brick towered over the deli. ___________ 3. __________ 11. __________ 10. ___________ 2. Then on the line before each sentence. ___________ 7. ___________ 4. To separate items in a series ___________ 1. or d. ___________ 6. c. ___________ 8. type the reason for the comma(s): a. In the meantime the sales representatives left the hall with their merchandise still on display. We ordered eggs toast pancakes and coffee before the diner closed. a. Although the wind howled all night long the exhausted student slept like a baby. John Caldwell my son’s teacher moved here from New York. The students performed confidently and the teacher beamed with pride. . ___________ 9. Unfortunately the hotel manager forgot to activate the security system. When the conference concluded the hotel manager sought employment elsewhere. Please park the car walk to the station and purchase a one-way ticket. Previewing the text though it takes a minute or two is the best way to begin a reading assignment. __________ 12. The students may feel some pressure when writing essays but they will experience a sense of accomplishment when they are finished. b.Please insert commas as required in each of the following sentences.