Science for the Public and more…

Commas, commas, commas

Comma or not to comma
—and always use “curly” commas, not straight
Commas really are not living entities that reproduce and decide where to live and where not to live. Neither are they snowflakes that land wherever the wind may take them. They are not decorations to be used or not as a person’s fancy may decide. Commas actually have a vital and exact use in writing stories, poetry, essays, or articles.

Let’s see when and where commas should be used.

• Use a comma to separate three or more words in a series, and use a comma before the conjunction,
• Names directly addressed need to be set off by commas.
• Commas should be used to set off conjunctive adverbs that introduce a clause or sentence.
• Mild interjections will need to be set off by commas,
• Equal adjectives should be separated with a comma. One test is to see if the word and could be used between the adjectives. If so, then a comma is needed,
• A phrase adding nonessential information should be set off by commas,
• A comma is needed after introductory words,
• A clause that doesn’t add essential information in a sentence should be set off by commas,
• Non-essential appositives should be set off by commas. (An appositive is a noun or pronoun – word, phrase, or clause – placed after another noun or pronoun to provide more information or rename the first.)

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