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7 Main Comma Rules

The .pdf version of this page may be more helpful.

1.  Use a comma before a conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so) to connect two independent clauses.

I had a history test today, so I studied last night.

2.  Use a comma to separate three or more things in a series.

Of Charles Dicken’s novels, I have read “Barnaby Rudge,” “The Pickwick Papers,” “Nicholas Nickleby,” and “Bleak House.”

3.  Use a comma with phrases that reflect contrast.

Learning about the works of Hemmingway can be highly advantageous to students, not only in their high school careers, but in their future college courses, as well.

4.  Use a comma to set off a parenthetical element (added information that can be taken out without changing the meaning of the sentence).

Now, many years after their time, we as a country are faced at the starting ground where these men once were.

5.  Use a comma to separate subordinate adjectives. If an and or a but can be put between the adjectives, a comma probably belongs there.

Fast and hot delivery!
Fast, hot delivery!

6.  Use a comma when using quotes to separate the quote from the rest of the sentence.

Like Bob Johnson said, “It’s a great day for hockey!”

7.  Use a comma to set off an opening phrase.

As such, I feel that there is much we can learn about human interaction by watching children playing in groups.