How to use Commas?



Synonyms and Antonyms Index | Previous Page

How to use Commas? :



The aim of punctuation is to make the meaning of written words as clear and as immediately understandable as possible. Read the following and see whether you can get the sense.

What do you mean I am a detective

The meaning of these words depends on the punctuation.

(A) What! Do you mean I am a detective?
(b) What do you mean? I am a detective.

Compare the following.

(a) He doesn’t walk normally. (= He walks in a strange way.)

(b) He doesn’t walk, normally. (= Usually he doesn’t walk.)

Here is another example. The words in each of the following sentences are the same. But the meaning differs depending on the punctuation.

(a) Gopal said, “Suresh met with an accident.”
(b) “Gopal”, said Suresh, “met with an accident.”

The commonly used punctuation marks are…

1. Full Stop (.)
2. Question Mark (?)
3. Exclamation Mark (!)
4. Comma (,)
5. Colon (:)
6. Semicolon (;)
7. Quotation Marks Or Inverted Commas (‘‘ Or “ ”)
8. Apostrophe (’)

The comma is chiefly used….

1. To separate items in a series or list…

I have a pen, a pencil and a rubber.
We have been to Kolkata, Varanasi, Delhi and Agra.

2. To separate a direct quotation from such constructions as He said, She replied…

He said, “Will you come to the cinema?”
“I can’t,’’ replied Ashok, “because I’ve to do my homework.”

3. Around the kind of relative clause that gives additional information (but not around the kind that just defines or identifies a person or thing).

Mr. Mehra, who lives opposite, is eighty-five.
My father, who is an engineer, has gone to the USA.

4. To mark off a noun in direct address…

Gopal, here’s your pen.
Don’t cry, Anne.

5. To separate certain words or phrases like however, moreover, finally, in short, in fact, of course, firstly & secondly.

My father, however, was determined to continue.
In fact, I don’t even know her name.
Of course, it is true.

6. To set off clauses where a pause is needed in reading. This is usually the case if an adverb clause comes first in a sentence.

Before we went very far, we found that we had lost our way.
If it is fine tomorrow, we will play tennis.
He looked for the key, but he couldn’t find it.

7. To mark off phrases containing a participle when a pause is required in reading.

Sitting in front of the television, Mary ate her supper.
Mohan, hearing the telephone, got up to answer it.

8. To separate a question tag from the rest of the sentence.

You know his address. Don’t you?

9. Before please when it comes at the end of a sentence and after yes or no responses…

Be quiet, please.
Have you got the number, please?
Yes, I have.
No, I haven’t.

10. Before and after a phrase in apposition.

Mr. Smith, my teacher, is retiring next month.
Mr. R.N. Ghosh, the owner of the company, lives in Kolkata.



How to use Commas?



School Essays

Moral Stories

Akbar and Birbal Stories

How to use Commas? To HOME PAGE