Some Common Comma Dos and Don’ts and Maybes

Do

  • First, you should use a comma to separate an introductory word or phrase from the rest of the sentence. For example, this sentence and the previous one.
  • Second, commas are used to separate items in lists. For example, if going on a picnic remember to take ketchup, hamburgers, ice cream, watermelon, and a blanket.

Don’t

  • Use a comma to separate two complete sentences, this is a comma splice error. To correct this error, replace the comma with a period, semi-colon, or conjunction such as “and.”

Maybe

  • Place a comma in front of the word “and.” For example, I want honey, and mustard on my sandwich. This is called the Oxford comma and is correct in British and Canadian grammar, but not in American grammar. In general, as long as you pick one method and stick with it consistently either is fine.
  • Placing a comma in front of the conjunction “but.” For example, I am not going out today, but I might go tomorrow. This is more commonly seen in British and Canadian grammar than American. Again pick one method and stick with it. Consistency is most important with questionable grammar points.

For Further Reading

www.grammarbook.com

www.thepunctuationguide.com

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