Comma Rules Graphic Poster

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I published the material on this graphic in a previous article, but I thought the graphic version below might be more sharable. Please feel free to pin it, post it, and otherwise share it.

Keep in mind that some of the comma rules are much simplified here. The truth is, there are several areas where the rules are sketchy and the choice to use a comma is left to the judgment of the writer. In other cases, particularly in the case of appositives and nonessential phrases and clauses, it can be tough for even seasoned writers to know when the rule applies and where it doesn’t. I don’t attempt to cover the subtleties and nuances in this graphic, but I hope to discuss some of the testier comma cases in future posts.

Comma Rules

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Brian Wasko

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

  1. CFloyd
    CFloyd09-26-2012

    I thought that if a second independent clause was proceeded by a subordinating conjunction you didn’t need a comma because that is what the conjunction is doing:

    I cooked while you were asleep.

    Or what about participial phrases at the end of a sentence:

    I caught a cold dancing in the rain.

    I don’t know if that is the right example, but my husband’s college professor keeps inserting commas for participial phrases at the end of a sentence. And I also thought that if the second clause were short or closely related you did not have to have the comma:

    I tolerate spinach so I can relish dessert.

    I devour chocolate and I decimate toffee.

    Commas are the bees of the grammar garden – they are beneficial, but can bee a pain.

    • JJ
      JJ01-29-2013

      Nice ­čÖé .

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