Thirteen Basic Rules of Using Commas (Ohanenye)
- Before a conjunction (FANBOYS—for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) to separate two independent sentences/clauses: Angela received a pay raise, so she did her famous happy dance.
- To separate items in a series of three or more words: The snacks included soda, pretzels, and chips. (The Oxford Comma comes before the “and”.)
- To separate adjectives of equal rank: You have made a simple, polite request.
- To separate a series of adjectives before the noun it modifies (except the last adjective): An efficient, helpful, and interesting guide led our party on the tour.
- After an introductory word, phrase, or clause: Well, I need a minute to decide. Yes, my brother can play the harmonica very well.
- To set off parenthetical expressions, which is a word or phrase not essential to the rest of the sentence: Therefore, I believe, however, on the other hand. Consequently, but fearing retribution, James notified us of his decision.
- To set off nonessential expressions or appositives: Confucius, a Chinese thinker, taught the importance of tradition. The teacher, a rebel with a cause, decided to challenge the status quo.
- To set off dates and geographic names: Tom was born in Marietta, Georgia. He will graduate from college on May 12, 2024.
- After each item in an address after the name, street, and city: She is writing her friend, Suze Jones of 32 Happy Trail, Jubilant, Mississippi 30127. (Notice that no comma separates the state from the zip code.)
- When an address is written on an envelope, only use a comma after the city:
32 Happy Trail
Jubilant, Mississippi 30127
11. In a salutation in a personal letter and after the closing in all letters: Salutation–Dear Ann,
12. With numbers of more than three digits and adding a comma after every 3rd digit counting from the right to the left: 103,908 or 990,973,873 or 98,771
13. To set off a direct quotation from the rest of the sentence: Gordon murmured with a yawn, “This is a dull movie.”
For additional comma rules, please visit https://literarynomad11.com/2021/11/23/the-thorny-comma-issue-part-1/