Punctuation

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Commas with Quotations

Commas are used to set off the “he said/she said” clause. The comma always goes before the quotation marks. Incorrect: Henrietta asked “Do you want to go with me?” (Comma must set off “she said” clause.) Incorrect: Henrietta asked”,Do you want to go with me?” (Comma must go before quotation mark.) Correct: Henrietta asked,”Do you

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Commas in Compound Sentences

Use a comma to separate independent clauses in a compound sentence when they are separated by a conjunction. The comma goes after the first clause and before the coordinating conjunction that separates the clauses. Make sure they are independent clauses and not some other construction where commas are not required. Correct: We washed the dog,

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Adding Commas for Clarity

Sometimes it is necessary to add a comma to make a sentence clear. Unclear: In the kitchen cupboards were empty. (Make it clear that the phrase is “in the kitchen,” not “in the kitchen cupboards.”) Clear: In the kitchen, cupboards were empty. Unclear: The room was full of crying babies and mothers. (Were the mothers

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Commas in a Series

Use commas to separate three or more words, phrases, or clauses in a series. A conjunction goes between the last two items of the series. While some authorities say that the comma before the conjunction is optional, leaving it out may cause confusion, so it is better to include it. Words: Use commas to separate

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Commas with Adjectives Following Nouns

Sometimes for emphasis adjectives or paired adjectives follow the noun they modify. The adjective or adjective pair is then set off by commas. Correct: The car, bright red, stood out in the parking lot. The adjective pair, if coordinate adjectives, must use the word and to separate the two adjectives. Correct: The dessert, sweet and

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