Commas Part One

A comma probably has more rules and uses than any other punctuationmark.

Below is an important comma rule.

  • Use commas to separate items (words, phrases, and clauses) in a series.

    James enjoys playing tennis, soccer, and basketball. (words in a series)
    The troop traveled into the mountains, across the plains, and along
    the river. (phrases in a series)

    The car dealer made sure that the purchaser’s car was clean, that the
    license plates were ready, and that the ownership papers had been
    signed. (clauses in a series)

    Note: If all the items in a series are joined by and, or, or nor, commas are
    not required.

    The chef’s exquisite dishes include filet mignon and roast beef
    and lamb.

    Note: If the conjunction and joins words that constitute a unit, team, or
    such, do not separate that name. Yet, you will still need the commas to
    separate items in a series.

    Peanut butter and jelly, ham and eggs, and spaghetti and meatballs
    are the children’s favorite foods.

    Note: Some writers choose not to include the final comma in a series if
    by leaving the comma out, the meaning is still clear.

    Our social studies class members studied the Korean War, the Civil
    War, World War I and World War II. (It is clear that the social
    studies students studied four wars.)