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The ABC's of Punctuation - Part One

Updated on August 30, 2014

How important is punctuation? Is it really needed to communicate? To answer these questions lets consider what punctuation does for a sentence.

Punctuation helps us to communicate meaning and emotion. It packages words into logical bundles for clarity. It helps with grammatical problems like fragments and run-on sentences. Punctuation is based on the orderly arrangement of words. That being said, punctuation is very essential.

In this series we will examine how to use the comma. For starters our discussion will center around six of the twelve rules for the comma, our next series will explain the remaining six rules.

Please give attention to the following information:

The Golden Rule
If in doubt leave it out. If you are not sure you need a comma leave it out.

The Cardinal Rule
Please do not separate a subject and verb with just one comma. A clause should not be interrupted by only one comma.
Example: Incorrect: My client, visited the office for a tour.
Correct: My client visited the office for a tour.

The Comma Conjunction
A comma before the conjunction separates the independent clauses
Example: I scheduled the meeting for Thursday, but forgot the office is closed Thursday.

Comma Introductory
Place a comma after a word phrase or dependent clause that introduces a main clause. Subordinating conjunctions and adverbial conjunctions at the beginning of a sentence call for a comma.
Example: Subordinating: Even though the meeting was brief, it was informative.
Adverbial: For example, John's files are very organized.

Comma Nonessential Element
Use commas to set off nonessential explanations. If nonessential explanations are removed, the sentence will still make sense.
Example: My office, which is on the fifth floor, has two fax machines.
Nonessential " which is on the first floor"

Comma Independent Comment
use commas to set off a word or phrase that interrupts an independent clause.
Example: My personal preference, of course, is to hold the meeting in Denver.

Stay tuned for Part Two of the comma series!


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    • Claudia Marie profile image

      Claudia Marie 3 years ago

      Thank you for your comment.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 3 years ago from Chicago

      Not too bad but helpful.