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chapter 6.6 Capitalization and Punctuation: Comma

A comma marks the breaks between items in a series.
They teased, begged, and flattered until I gave in.
Remember that when more than two items are compounded, the conjunction comes between the last two, and commas separate the others:
They appealed to my pride, to my faith in them, and to my generous instincts.

pencil Application 5

A comma comes before the conjunction that compounds independent clauses.
They joked around at my door, and then they won me over.
The girls told me what good drivers they were, but the boys concentrated on washing the car windows.

pencil Application 6

A comma marks the end of an introductory modifying phrase or clause.
Since they'd waited all day, I couldn't refuse.
After all, I owed them a favor.
Note that when a modifying clause comes after the independent clause, no comma is necessary:
I was laughing to myself while they were talking to me.
BUT
While they were talking to me, I was laughing to myself.
A transitional expression at the beginning of a clause will be separated from the rest of the clause by a comma. In the sentences below,finally and therefore are transitional expressions.
Finally, the water began to boil.
Nobody noticed it for five minutes; therefore, several ounces evaporated.

pencil Application 7

A comma separates an interruption from the rest of a sentence.

An interrruption is any word or group of words that interrupts or is added to a sentence to offer extra information. It can be a whole clause:

Marcel, who was the oldest, was a charmer.
The interruption can be a phrase:
What they wanted, of course, was to borrow my car.
Sometimes the interruption is merely a word:
Yes, I did it again, honey. I loaned them the new car and the keys, too.

pencil Application 8

A comma separates quoted words from the rest of a sentence.
"You deserve your great reputation for kindness," Marcel declared. I blushed and replied, "Enough sweet talk. Be back by five."
Notice that the first word of each quoted sentence is capitalized, even though, in the case of the last one, the mark before enough is a comma rather than a period. This is because the words being quoted create a sentence within a sentence.


pencil Application 9

A comma separates items in an address or date.
Come celebrate with us at 24 Morrill Avenue, Waterville, Maine on Monday, June 18, 2002.

pencil Application 10

Summary of Comma use
Use a Comma
  • to mark the breaks between the items in a series.
  • before the conjunction that compounds independent clauses.
  • to mark the end of an introductory modifying phrase or clause.
  • to separate an interruption from the rest of a sentence.
  • to separate quoted words from the rest of a sentence.
  • to separate items in an address or date.

pencil Application 11

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