Punctuation

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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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Commas with Paired Adjectives

Coordinate Adjectives If two adjectives modify a noun in the same way, place a comma between the two adjectives. These are called coordinate adjectives. There is a two-part test for coordinate adjectives: (1) Can you replace the comma with the word and? (2) Can you reverse the order of the adjectives and keep the same

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Commas and Introductory Words

Commas are used to set off certain items that often begin a sentence and have no grammatical connection with the rest of the sentence. These items include certain common expressions, unemphatic interjections, and direct addresses. Common Expression: But of course, we have mustard in the car. Unemphatic Interjection: Yes, we have no bananas. Direct Address:

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