By popular request, this post will be dedicated to punctuation. We already have an entry on the use of the Oxford comma, remember?
…and those two punctuation marks should be familiar to you as well:
…so let’s talk about the comma. A few general comments on the use of commas in English:
- Read the sentence out loud as a (rough) guide. But remember that some pauses need other punctuation marks and some pauses need no punctuation marks at all.
- There are some firm rules on the use of the comma, but often only general guidance can be given. Whether to use a comma or not may depend on the length of the whole sentence or parts of it, the emphasis you want to give to certain words or what other punctuation marks are used in the sentence.
- Two equally experienced punctuation ‘experts’ might well have different opinions on some uses of the comma in a particular sentence. But one rule is good to remember: Commas should be used for a purpose. Unless a comma is necessary to make the sense clearer, it is best to miss it out.
You want some firm rules on comma usage? There you go: Have a look at this Powerpoint presentation brought to you by the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab): http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/692/01/
If you would like some more comma practice, check out this website: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/quizzes/comma_quiz.htm
And if you would like a summary of the primary uses of the comma in English, we recommend this website: http://iws.collin.edu/jmiller/A%20Brief_%20No-Nonsense%20Guide%20to%20Comma%20Usage.htm
But remember: Using commas correctly in English is mostly just comma sense (Sorry, couldn’t resist! )