Below, you’ll find a “refresher” on almost ALL the uses of the comma…in almost every kind of situation. If you are stumped on some of these, you can google the concept, look it up in the library in a Harbrace Handbook, or ask me! I’ll be happy to help you with any idea that is not clear.
THE COMMA -- BASIC RULES
Use between words, phrases or clauses in a series.
Joseph likes oranges, apples, avocado and bananas.
We went over the hill, around the bakery and into the forest.
Use after a long introductory phrase.
After the War of 1812, the US had to rebuild its economy.
Use with appositive phrases (phrases that modify, limit, describe nouns).
Abe Lincoln, a former president of the US, was shot by a actor.
Use with non-restrictive clauses [who, which, that].
He thought Karen, who was always late, would never arrive.
Use to separate independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction.
The old pirate had no more strength, so he just closed his eyes to die.
Use to separate DC/IC sentences.
Because the rain was falling so heavily, Susan stayed in the house.
Use with coordinating adjectives not joined by 'and.'
Ferocious, alert, loyal dogs were needed badly.
Not with cumulative adjectives (size - age - color - material):
The huge old iron lock fell apart.
TEST: insert 'and'
TEST: reverse word order.
Use with dates, addresses.
The sailing ship finally arrived on October 23, 1783.
Please ship this package to Calle Oberon no.233, Colonia Pittburgh, PA.
Use to separate interjections from sentence.
Oh, I don't think so! Yes, you may use the car.
Use in conjunction with semi-colon when using conjunctive adverbs.
I am the teacher; therefore, I will decide what's on the exam!
THE SEMI-COLON--BASIC RULES
Use a semi-colon to join two related independent clauses.
We are the national champions; we always win at basketball.
Use with conjunctive adverbs.
We could have a party; however, the noise may disturb the other class.
Jasmin is always in class; the prize, therefore, should go to her.
Okay! That’s all! I hope this has helped you understand how to punctuate your sentences even better and with more confidence. Go, now—while it’s fresh on your mind—and see how you do on some of the Comma and Semi-Colon worksheets.