My children received a book from my parents a few years ago, and we enjoy sitting down every once in awhile to read it. This witty book, Eats, Shoots and Leaves, written by Lynne Truss is loaded with funny examples of how comma placement can change the meaning of a sentence. In the introduction of the book, Lynne Truss remarks, “Of all the punctuation marks, the comma is one of the most misused.” While comma misuse in an educational children’s book can be hilarious, it can be disastrous for a professional writer. Take a few minutes to review the 6 rules for comma usage, and make sure that you have comma sense.
- Use commas to separate items in a series.
Example: I like to write content for blogs, company websites, and social media.
- Use a comma before and, but, or, nor, for, so, and yet, when they join independent clauses (unless the clauses are short).
Example: The writer got off to a slow start, but he got quicker toward the end.
- Use commas to set off nonessential clauses and phrases.
Example: My boss, the founder of our company, started a web writing business.
- Use a comma after introductory elements.
Examples: In my work, I am dedicated to writing blogs that produce maximum results.
- Use commas to set off an expression that interrupts a sentence.
Examples: If you need to optimize your website, but lack qualified personnel, please call to let us know how we can assist you.
- Use a comma in certain conventional situations (to separate items in dates and addresses, after the salutation and closing of a letter, and after a name followed by a title).