What’s inside


Easy-to-understand rules


Real-life examples


How & when to use commas


The difference between single & double quotation marks


Tips & tricks to help you remember


Bonus tips too!


Apostrophe confusion solved


And more!

Chapter 1: Commas

As with all punctuation, commas should help provide clarity to your writing. Whether it’s separating thoughts, phrases or lists, you’ll need a comma to keep words from running together.

In speech, commas allow a speaker the opportunity to take a breath. For readers and writers, commas provide a momentary pause before the next related thought occurs. A comma signifies the smallest break in a sentence or a slight pause to make reading easier. When in doubt, a comma should be used if a sentence could otherwise be misread.

Use Commas with Independent Clauses

As a rule of thumb, you should use a comma when preceding a conjunction, such as and, but, or, so, yet, or any other conjunction that joins two independent clauses. (An independent clause can grammatically stand alone as a sentence.)

The company wanted to make a new sofa, so they asked their customers first.

Use Commas with Introductory Dependent Clauses

When a sentence begins with a dependent clause (one that cannot stand alone as a sentence), use a comma for pause and separation. A dependent clause usually begins with if, yet, because, and, or, but, while, or when.

If our customers like the sample, we will start producing it.

When a dependent clause follows an opening, main independent clause, a comma is not necessary if the dependent clause is essential to the meaning of the sentence.

We will start producing the sofa if our customers will buy it.

If the dependent clause is not essential, it should be preceded by a comma.



“Let it be known, I am a fan of the comma; it gives cadence to my writing. Those who disagree are in their usual hurried state…not giving pause where a breath is due.”
― Nanette L. Avery

About the author.

Nikki Corbett is owner of Precise and Be Smarter Now, wordsmith, writer, editor, poet, and mom. She developed a love of writing and the English language early in life and has been writing stories since she could pick up a pencil. She holds degrees in Communications/Journalism as well as Creative Writing and Business Administration.

Nikki Corbett

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