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Tampa English Tutor Shares Three Comma Rules

Posted on 8th April 2011 in Tampa Writing Tutor

I just started working with an EAP student at St Petersburg College to get him ready for his Florida State Exit Exam.

Today we worked a little on some basic rules for using the comma.

open book with note written in marker across text of page

This image created by JulieJordanScot. See more of her images on her blog at This image licensed under CC BY 2.0

I shared three comma rules with him:

Use a comma when connecting two independent clauses with a coordinating conjunction.  Use a comma before for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so — the FANBOYS — when they connect two parts of a sentence that each could stand on its own.

I want to be more comfortable using commas, so I have been studying the comma rules.
She is generous with her time, but she is stingy with her money.
He has a suspended license, yet he insists on driving everywhere he goes.

Use a comma between each item on a list of three or more items.

Sunday’s dinner consisted of roast beef, mashed potatoes, and apple pie.
He was an Eagle Scout, a skilled marksman, and a fine fisherman.
The politician insisted that he was kind, considerate, and honest.
I purchased three boxes of thin mints, two boxes of pecan sandies, and a case of  coconut clusters.

Use commas to set off the name of the person used in direct address.

John, will you please stop giving biscuits to my Labrador?
Will you come to my party, Sandy?

If you want to improve your writing to prepare for college or to advance your career, I can help. Call Tampa English Tutor Eric Anderson at 813.787.8959 or e-mail him at eanderson at tampa bay dot rr dot com.

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