As an editing service that works with many English as a Second Language (ESL) writers and native speakers, we notice many common misuses of the comma “,”. Therefore, our team put on this shortlist about how to properly use commas. So, when is the time (not) to use commas? Let’s find out!
When not to use a comma!
The holy grail of writing mistakes is the wrong use of commas. Surprisingly, people tend to overuse commas rather than underuse them, so the misuses come first. As a writer, I, and I believe you too, ask a few times when writing a paper: “Should there be a comma here?”. Well, here are some cases where you should not use a comma:
- Don’t use a comma before the first or after the last item in a series.
The students had to write two papers, take one exam, and give two presentations, before the end of the semester.
- Don’t use a comma between a subject and a verb.
Joyfully, the family, ate turkey on Thanksgiving dinner.
- Don’t use a comma to set off restrictive elements.
Many employees, of Google, worked from home this year.
- Don’t use a comma before coordinating conjunctions that do not join parts of a compound sentence.
The socio-economic divide between the rich, and the poor is growing in the country.
- Don’t use a comma before a verb in a relative clause.
The best thing about our editing services, is the attention to details.
These are 5 of the most common misuses of commas we face during our work. Keep in mind that there are many more. The best way to answer your question “Should there be a comma here?” is to read the next list on the proper use of commas.
When to use a comma!
When should I use a comma, you ask? You can find hundreds of rules and sub-rules online about the proper use of commas. Well, we want to keep it easy and short for you. Don’t get lost with all the complicated rules and make sure to know the basic rules well. Here’s a list of all the basic rules on the proper use of commas with examples:
- Use a comma before coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet) linking two independent
I started baking, and I watched TV.
- Use a comma to separate appositives from the rest of the sentence.
While baking, I watched a dramedy, a movie genre that mixes comedy and drama.
- Use a comma after introductory adverbs.
Thankfully, I watched TV when I was baking.
- Use a comma to separate words (or word groups) in a simple series of three or more items.
I started baking using eggs, flour, and milk.
- Use a comma to separate two adjectives when the adjectives’ order is interchangeable.
I baked some sweet, delicious cookies./ I baked some delicious, sweet cookies.
- Use a comma to separate a city from its state/country.
I’m from Baketown, Nebraska.
- Use a comma to enclose degrees or titles.
Carl Addoumieh, M.A., is baking this cake.
- Use a comma to separate a statement from a question.
I can bake, can’t I?
- Use a comma to separate contrasting parts of sentences.
I baked this cake, not you.
The icing on top of the commas
Alright, all this talk about cake got me hungry! Now every time you ask yourself: “Should I use a comma here?”, think of cake examples and try to make the right decision. But don’t worry,we won’t late such mistakes pass! You can always contact us and find out the services we offer (We just added some more)!
At Bested.it, we offer different editing and proofreading services because we care about our writers’ growth and improvement.
Like our writing style and need help with your next blog post? Focus on your writing. We’ll handle the rest. Book your editing package now.