the following examples very carefully. If
you feel a strong urge to place a comma
somewhere, you probably have comma trauma:
pertinent information whenever possible.
associate who joined the company most recently
is the one who will be laid off first.
the names that appear on the list are supposed
to be typed and printed out.
product has an infinite shelf life as long as it
is kept totally free from moisture.
arrival will not be a problem unless the boxes
arrive unmarked or the shipper fails to leave a
you feel the urge to place a comma somewhere in the above
five sentences--if comma trauma is
gripping you--then reading the sentences again
may be a more useful remedy than studying comma
There are, of course, valid reasons to place commas in
sentences. For example, a comma is
definitely needed before and,
so, and yet
when any of these words is connecting two independent
started reading the article this morning,
and I finished it after dinner.
wanted to ride her bicycle to the post office,
but she decided to drive instead.
You should also use a comma
to exclude nonessential information in a
asked her what, if
anything, I could
do to help with the arrangements.
last time I shopped there,
by the way, was
almost a year ago.
You should also use a comma after an
As soon as the shipment
arrives, we will contact someone
in your office.
Because we care about
service, someone will be on call
seven days a week to assist you.
are extremely useful tools, but their
effectiveness is diminished when they're
about placing commas where you believe the
reader is likely to pause. Start thinking
of commas as separators rather
than pauses. That way, you won't be as
likely to place one where it does not
all, remember that there should be a valid
reason for each comma you insert. So if
you don't need it, delete it!