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The ABC's of Punctuation - Part Two

Updated on November 8, 2014

Part two of our discussion on The ABC's of Punctuation will discuss the last six of the twelve rules for the comma. Understanding the comma will bring you one step closer to better communication. Note the Following:

Comma Direct Address
Use commas to set off the name or title of a person addressed directly. Use a comma if the person is being spoken to, but not spoken about.
Example: Debbie, can you explain this text to me?

Comma Appositive
Use commas to set off words or phrases that describe or identify a preceding noun or pronoun. Essential appositives (two or more people fit the category) are not set off with commas.
Example: My associate, Bill, handles all the company finances. (Nonessential)
My associate Bill handles all the company finances. (Essential)

Comma Address/Date
Use commas to set off addresses and date. Also use a comma to set off a city, state and country.
Example: On October 21, 20011, our new facility opened. The meeting in Portland, Oregon, will offer two new sessions.

Comma Series
When 3 or more items occur in a series, put a comma after each item. Place a comma before the final "and"
Example: I brought paper plates, paper cups, paper napkins, and plastic forks at the store.

Comma Words Omitted
Use a comma for the omission of a word or words that play a structural role in a sentence, common omissions include and, that, and repeated words.
Example: The last, best idea of the discussion came from Brenda. (and omitted).
I sent the draft to everyone, the final version, only to you. (I sent omitted).

Comma contrasting Expression After thought
Use a comma to separate a contrasting expression or an afterthought that is added to the end of a sentence. Contrasting expressions often begin with but, not, or rather than.
Example: Rather than, drive to Tampa, I will fly. (contrasting expression)
I think I will ask Marcia to proofread the letter, after all. (afterthought)

Perhaps, these comma rules will clear up some previous confusion on how the comma is used. Of course, you will not remember all twelve rules of the comma, however, if you review this information from time to time it will help you to improve your written communication. Keeping the twelve rules of the comma with your writing materials may prove to be a valuable asset.


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