Comma Rules & Practice

Familiarize yourself with the following comma rules.  


 1.    Use commas to separate items in a series

(A)  If all items in a series are joined by and or or, do not use commas to separate them.

(B)  Independent clauses in a series are usually separated by semicolons.  Sort independent clauses are sometimes separated by commas.

2.    Use commas to separate two or more adjectives preceding a noun.

EXAMPLE:  The cold, windy evening was merciless.

3.    Use commas before and, but, or, nor, for, and yet when they join independent clauses.

EXAMPLE:  The moon watches over the sleeping world, yet it never tells on a soul.

4.    Use commas to set off nonessential clauses and nonessential participial phrases.

EXAMPLE:  The red bird, sitting on the fence, is an ibis.

5.    Use commas after certain introductory elements.

(A)  Use a comma after words such as well, yes, no, why, etc. when they begin a sentence.

6.    Use commas to set off sentence interrupters.

EXAMPLE:  His house, 416 Melton Lane, is for sale.

7.    Use commas in certain conventional situations.

(A)  Use a comma to separate items in dates and addresses.

(B)  Use a comma after a salutation in a personal letter and after the closing of any letter.

(C)  Use a comma after a name followed by Jr., Sr., PH.D., etc.

8.    Do not use unnecessary commas (this rule does not apply on the quiz).


Practice Sites:


Freshmen English
Grammar:  Practice Comma Quiz

INSTRUCTIONS:  Use the comma rules, distributed in class, to identify which rule applies to each of the sentences below.  Place the number of the rule in the space next to each sentence.  The quiz is due during the next English class.

_____1.  We planned to delay Sam, but he was already late.

_____2.  Richard Nathaniel Fox, M.D. performed the operation on Sam.

_____3.  Sam’s body will be shipped to his birthplace Frankfurt, Germany.

_____4.  Sam studied vampire bats, Johanna studied werewolves, and Shane studied
_____5.  Sam suffocated on rich, green, leafy vegetables.

_____6  “Where,” Sam exclaimed, “is the oily salad dressing?”

_____7.  On November 24, 2007 Sam dropped out of school.

_____8.  I wonder why Sam, who was rather weird, decided to leave in the first place.

_____9. Sam hitchhiked to Mexico with a comb, a toothbrush, a flashlight and a box of
_____10. Waiting at the border, the Mexican official inquired if Sam had any illegal
_____11. Sam slept on the desert floor; and he had nightmares about scorpions.

_____12. Sam woke up to find a bird, a hungry vulture, pecking on his chin.

_____13. No, he did not suffer as Sam was immune to pain.

_____14. Sam’s address, 666 Perdition Lane, was destroyed by a raging conflagration.

_____15. Sam wrote a letter to his mother that began with Dear Mom, I am thirsty,

_____16. Sam lost so much weight, he weighed less than a large iguana, that he could be
swept up by the wind.
_____17. Sam spotted a river, flowing in the distance, that he struggled to reach.

_____18.  The long, winding river was shallow and cold.

_____19. Sam was eventually rescued by a mute engineer; his long ordeal in Mexico was
_____20. Splendid, we will go to visit Sam as his health improves.

_____21. Ah, nothing is more satisfying than watching someone else suffer.

_____22. Sam uncovered a theory, 3x – (EZ+66), which means absolutely nothing.

_____23. Allen Davis, Jr. arrested Sam for being an illegal alien.

_____24. Sam, by the way, sends his regards.

_____25. Flowers and mementos, an eagle’s feather, a boyscout handbook and candles
will be fine for Sam’s shrine on Bullet Hill.