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Know Your Commas - Law Essay Teacher Blog


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Know Your Commas

If you were to try taking a poll just to assess how well you know your commas, the answer would likely surprise you. This is because commas can be one of the trickiest forms of punctuation that students can ever come across. It is a lt simpler when all you are going to be working with is a full stop. Most people get where it needs to go, so as soon as you finish a sentence, or whatever it is that you are trying to say, you need to insert a full stop. Consider, for instance, the following example:

Let’s eat Grandpa!

Let’s eat, Grandpa!

In the first instance, Grandpa’s life is, literally, in danger. He can only be saved by the insertion of a comma. While hilarious enough on its own in general, imagine making a faux pas such as this in real life. Even worse, imagine making such an error in your academic paper. Teachers are the ones who will be marking your work, what with their hawk’s eyes, you can be sure that none of them are going to look very kindly on any mistakes you make placing your commas.

Understanding The Basics Of Commas

There are some very basic aspects to using commas that you should understand properly so as to be able to use this particular punctuation mark just right. These include:

  • Commas are not just a pause in the middle of a sentence. Instead, they are one of the most important aspects that must be properly used to enhance your written communication.
  • Commas must be used before coordinating conjunctions. This means that before and, for, nor, yet, but, or, and so, you need to place the compulsory comma.
  • If a sentence starts with a dependent clause, a comma must be placed after the clause. This is because the clause, a combination of both a subject and a verb, cannot stand alone on its on. The only exception to this rule is when the sentence ends on the clause.
  • Commas are used to separate appositives from the rest of the sentence. Appositives are synonyms for a juxtaposed phrase or word. In this case, if the appositive is in the middle of the sentence, commas are placed on either side to distinguish it from the rest of the sentence. Here it must be noted that it does not matter what the length of the appositive it, the rule remains regardless.
  • Place commas when talking about items in a series. In this case, while putting commas between different items in a series is easy enough, the ambiguity arises about placing a comma before and and the last item in the series. Known as an Oxford comma, in most cases, students can get away without placing a comma before the and the last item. It is better to do so however.

Comma placement can be tricky however, which is why getting professional, academic writing help is always a brilliant idea. How about contacting Law Essay Teacher for assistance?


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