Comma Usage

Okay, I’ll be perfectly honest here– there are several different schools of thought as it pertains to the use of commas in written English. There are also different opinions related to the use of periods, semi-colons, and dashes. I’ll be doing my best to identify these different schools of thought during the course of this mini-unit, but will freely admit that I am a proponent of traditional grammar rules until one is familiar enough with them to break them intentionally. So, that said, let us leap into the wonderful world of punctuation, starting with the comma.

Generally speaking commas are misused; they are underused, overused, and generally misunderstood. Let us begin with a few simple rules for comma usage:

Rule 1 – Commas should be used to separate independent clauses that use the coordinating conjunctions and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet.

Ex: I walked to Cupcake Royale to work it was very loud.

This sentence should become I walked to Cupcake Royale to work, but it was very loud.

Day 1 Warm Up

Make each of the following incorrect sentences correct by adding a coordinating conjunction and a comma.

1. There are approximately 6.95 billion people on the planet over 1 billion of them are going hungry.

2. In 1950 Americans consumed roughly 144 pounds of beef per person per year in 2007 they consumed nearly 225 pounds each.

3. The average American purchases 53 times as much product as a person in China one American consumes the equivalent of 35 Indians.

Day 2 Warm Up

Make each of the following incorrect sentences correct by adding a coordinating conjunction and a comma.

1. Coffee was introduced to Europe by invading Turkish armies it is basically the greatest invention ever.

2. Howard Schultz founded Starbucks in the 1970’s he also owned the Seattle SuperSonics.

Please fix the following comma splices.

1. After I went to the cabin I lit a fire, it burned all night and kept me warm.

2. The state of New Jersey recently raised the driving age to 17, there has been a significant reduction in teen deaths as a result of car crashes.

Day 3 Warm-Up

Introductory phrases. This is very simple. They need commas.

How are these two sentences different?

• Still the wind blew.

• Still, the wind blew.

Day 4 Warm-Up

Please fix these sentences. By adding commas.

1. Isakson tired and needing coffee forgot entirely to prepare the warm-ups before class.

2. However he realized that it was possible to update his website and he did it quickly before class.