Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Comma Rules Part III

Comma rules 7 through 11 follow:

Rule 7. Use commas to surround degrees or titles used with names. Commas are no longer required around Jr. and Sr. Commas never set off II, III, and so forth.

Example: Al Mooney, M.D., knew Sam Sunny Jr. and Charles Starr III.

Rule 8. Use commas to set off expressions that interrupt sentence flow.

Example: I am, as you have probably noticed, very nervous about this.

Rule 9. When starting a sentence with a weak clause, use a comma after it. Conversely, do not use a comma when the sentence starts with a strong clause followed by a weak clause.

Examples: If you are not sure about this, let me know now. Let me know now if you are not sure about this.

Rule 10. Use a comma after phrases of more than three words that begin a sentence. If the phrase has fewer than three words, the comma is optional.

Examples: To apply for this job, you must have previous experience. On February 14 many couples give each other candy or flowers. OR On February 14, many couples give each other candy or flowers.

Rule 11. If something or someone is sufficiently identified, the description following it is considered nonessential and should be surrounded by commas.

Examples: Freddy, who has a limp, was in an auto accident. Freddy is named, so the description is not essential. The boy who has a limp was in an auto accident. We do not know which boy is being referred to without further description; therefore, no commas are used.

Rules 4 through 6 are here and the first three rules can be found here.

Colleen Degnan Johnson
CMJ Office
Fantasy Face Painting


  1. Thanks for the comma explanation. I really like reading the rules - I find myself going on instinct most of the time. But it's good to check myself and make sure I'm doing it right!

  2. Thank you for including the restrictive/nonrestrictive clause rule; that one stumps a lot of people.