Comma- the Game Changer: A Guide on Using Comma

This entry was posted in Category Dissertation , Editor , on May 02 , 2016.

When we communicate, our words convey a specific meaning with a intent. However, while communicating in the written form, a “Comma” can change the entire meaning of the sentence.

Don’t believe? Just check this out!

“A woman, without her man is nothing.”

“A woman, without her, man is nothing”

Comma plays an important role in academic writing as well. PhD candidates are supposed be the most intelligent human being on earth, but sometimes played fool by these teeny-tiny ‘Comma’

For sure, there are precise rules govern when to use this punctuation mark. When followed, these rules lay the groundwork for clear written communication.

Here are the golden rules on using ‘Comma’ that will make your life simpler:

1.Using a Comma to separate the different elements in a series:“This study shows facts, beliefs, and findings.”Earlier you may have learned or not that the comma before the ‘and’ in the above mentioned sentence is unnecessary only if you’re in control of things. Whereas in most of the situation the last two items (that are separated using an ‘and’) will try to mingle as one like macaroni and cheese. Using comma between all the items in the list will avoid this problem. The last comma (between the last two items in the list, is known as the Serial Comma.

2.Using a Comma to connect two independent clause (before the conjunction):“The recent finding shows the better result, but the exact results require considering both the old and recent findings.”It is believed that a conjunction is an adequate separation, however, the use of comma with the conjunction makes the sentence balanced. In case of any doubt, the use of comma in such situation is always correct.The frequent error with comma is the placement of a comma after the conjunction.

3.Using a Comma to set off parenthetical elements:“The founder Bridge, which spans the river, is falling down.”The parenthetical element means a part of a sentence that can be removed without changing the vital meaning of the sentence. This element is sometime called as ‘added information’. But remember, when a parenthetical element – an adverbial modifier, an interjection or an adverbial clause follows a coordinating conjunction used to connect two independent clause, don’t put a comma in front of the parenthetical element.

4.Using a Comma to separate coordinate adjectives:“This is a big, magnificent and distinguished building”If you put an ‘and’ or a ‘but’ between the adjective, a comma will always belong there. For example- you can say: “This is a big, magnificent, and distinguished building.”

5.Using a Comma to set off quoted elements:In academic writing, referencing someone else’s work requires putting quotation mark. In such cases use a comma to separate quoted material from the rest of the sentence that explains the quotation.“I should like to buy an egg, please,” she said timidly. “How do you sell them?”

6.Using a Comma to set off phrases that express contrast:“Some say the world will end in ice, not fire”Many a time, there occurs situation or sentence which contrasts. It is advisable to use a comma to separate two contrasting element in the sentence.

I hope the use of comma is well understood by now. You can try this out by putting the comma in the sentences given below. Post your answers in the comment box.

1. She was grateful to be recognized and she showed her gratitude freely.

2. Nevertheless he will always remember her attitude.

3. While she generally prefers the works of Hemingway sometimes she read Steinbeck.

4. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

5. For dinner they roasted fish mashed potatoes and gravy and peas.

6. “I don’t want this” Jack said, “that the meal was all that good.”

7. Raising flowers for Sofia was his main joy in life.

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