Using a Comma: 5 Rules, You Must Know

September 21st, 2020

Reading time about 13 min

When do you use a comma?

Of all the punctuation marks present in the English language, the comma is the most wrongly used. A part of it comes from a misconception that commas always signify a pause in a sentence.

Many freelance writers tend to use commas to separate parts of a sentence or to introduce a break. However, specific rules govern using a comma in a sentence, and they hould be appropriately followed.

Using a comma

Now, part of the quality of any good article is determined by its use of punctuation marks. Search engines and plagiarism detectors, while detecting plagiarized content or duplicate content, check for proper punctuations as well. Hence, an essential part of writing an excellent article is the correct use of commas.

Using a Comma in a Sentence

There are specific rules that need to be followed while using a comma in a sentence. Some of them are very common.

Generally, people think that commas help in separating different things in a series. When a writer is attributing quotes or separating each element in an address or a date, they’re required.

Commas are also used when separating the sequence of three numbers when writing a more significant number. But there are undoubtedly uncommon, tricky, or widely mistaken conceptions about using commas that every writer needs to know to create a good quality article.

  1. Oxford comma

“Our friends, Tom, and Mark, were invited to the event.”

 “Our friends, Tom and Mark, were invited to the event.”

That last comma here is the serial, Oxford, or the Harvard comma. Its usage is quite controversial. Often people question its necessity. However, there’s a section that uses it to reduce ambiguities in sentences.

Using a Comma with Oxford Comma

While the sentence with the last comma implies people who were invited were the writers’ friends and two other people called Tom and Mark.

If the previous comma is removed, the sentence suggests the writer’s friends, namely Tom and Mark, were invited to the event. Hence, the serial comma carries great importance in a sentence.

  1. Using a comma to make a connection between two independent clauses

In an independent clause, both the subjects and the verb can exist on its own in a sentence. For example, “I went swimming” and “I met an old friend” are both independent clauses. If we were to join these two sentences, we would have to introduce a command between them.

“I went swimming, and I met an old friend.”

However, if we remove the “I” from the second sentence, it would become a dependent clause and require no comma.

“I went swimming and met an old friend.”

  1. Use a comma after a dependent clause if it starts a sentence

The dependent clause includes both the subjects. It is not viable to use a verb in a sentence on its own.

For example: “When she left for the office” is a dependent clause.

If a dependent clause is there at the beginning of the sentence, the writer can use a comma; however, if it is at the end of the sentence, then there.

“When she left for the office, she forgot her backpack.”

It requires a comma since it has a dependent clause at the beginning.

“I went running when I saw a bird.”

Here, the sentence starts with an independent clause, so it does not require a comma.

  1. Use a comma after introductory adverbs

When adverbs are used to modify entire clauses or sentences, they are often put at the beginning of sentences or clauses. They are called introductory adverbs. For example:

“Finally, I got back my keys.”

“Gracefully, she denied the invitation.”

The word “finally,” gracefully defines the manner of the condition in which the work was done. These are called introductory adverbs. A comma is always used after the use of introductory adverbs.

  1. Comma splice

While joining independent clauses, a comma itself is not enough. A semicolon or coordinating conjunction is required. For example:

“We were out of candles, I went to the shop.”

 “I went running, I saw a bird.”

Both of these are wrong. A comma is using to join independent clauses is a common mistake and is called a comma splice. They can be joined by a semicolon or separated by a period.

These are some of the essential information that comes to mind when discussing where to put a comma. One can always use a plagiarism checker to check for mistakes in the text, including using a comma to create original content.

Paid and free online plagiarism checkers often suggest making corrections in the text to improve the text’s quality. Hence, it can be said that these plagiarism checkers not only helps one to fight plagiarism but also at the same time, helps in improving the quality of the writeup as well.

What To Keep in Mind While Creating a Quality Writeup

Thus, the writers should not forget that punctuations, such as a simple comma, can take the quality of the writeup to the next level. However, apart from that, the writers should also not forget about the importance of plagiarism.

Even if the writeup is useful, if the writeup contains plagiarized or duplicate content, all its value is lost. Therefore, apart from producing high-quality content, the writer should produce non-plagiarized content. In that way, the writeup should have a significant viewership.

Now, the question is how to produce something completely original? Well, for that, one has to read and research a lot. It will open up new avenues that will give the writer scope to come up with topics that have not been previously dealt with.

Hence, both punctuation marks and originality boost up the quality of the writeup. If the writers can keep this in mind, they can produce the best quality writeups.

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