Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Comma Rules

Comma happiness drives me crazy. I've mentioned it before and I'll mention it again. I love the Blue Book of Grammar. I'll be sharing the 21 Comma Rules in English here for the next several Wednesday blogs.

Here are the first 3 rules:

Rule 1. To avoid confusion, use commas to separate words and word groups with a series of three or more.

Example: My $10 million estate is to be split among my husband, daughter, son, and nephew. Omitting the comma after son would indicate that the son and nephew would have to split one-third of the estate.

Rule 2. Use a comma to separate two adjectives when the word and can be inserted between them.

Examples: He is a strong, healthy man. We stayed at an expensive summer resort. You would not say expensive and summer resort, so no comma.

Rule 3. Use a comma when an -ly adjective is used with other adjectives.

NOTE: To test whether an -ly word is an adjective, see if it can be used alone with the noun. If it can, use the comma.

Examples: Felix was a lonely, young boy. I get headaches in brightly lit rooms. Brightly is not an adjective because it cannot be used alone with rooms; therefore, no comma is used between brightly and lit.

Keep watching each Wednesday for the next 18 rules.

Colleen Degnan Johnson
CMJ Office
Fantasy Face Painting

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