Questions tagged [commas]

The comma is a punctuation character that is placed on the baseline and looks similar to a single quotation mark.

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162 votes
10 answers

Should I always use a comma after "e.g." or "i.e."?

It seems that "e.g." is always followed by a comma but "i.e." is not. Why is that?
evergreen's user avatar
  • 3,315
159 votes
16 answers

Should I put a comma before the last item in a list?

Should I put a comma before the last item in a list? I would like crackers, cheese and some soda. I would like crackers, cheese, and some soda.
Chris's user avatar
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105 votes
3 answers

Should I use a comma before "and" or "or"?

Is using a comma then an "and" or an "or" after it proper punctuation? Example: I fell over, and hurt my knee. Should I go, or not?
Nunya's user avatar
  • 1,053
101 votes
6 answers

Should there be a comma after "i.e."? [duplicate]

If I remember correctly from English class, then one should put a comma after "i.e.", i.e., the Latin abbreviation for id est. But lately I've seen the comma after "i.e." dropped in books. So what is ...
Michael's user avatar
  • 1,257
72 votes
2 answers

When ending a list with "etc.", should there be a comma before "etc."?

When listing items and ending the list with "etc", should there be a comma before "etc."? E.g. red, green, blue, etc. or red, green, blue etc. Related question, though this one involves the ...
Eyvind's user avatar
  • 1,259
49 votes
4 answers

How should I punctuate around quotes where the punctuation required by the quote interferes with the punctuation of the sentence?

The American convention in quotations is (typically) to place punctuation inside quoted text. But I always run into situations where the punctuation of the quote interferes with the punctuation of the ...
Robert Cartaino's user avatar
47 votes
5 answers

Should there always be a comma after "therefore","However" etc.?

Should you always type a comma after "therefore","however" etc. in the beginning of a sentence? Also, when these (and similar) words are used in the middle of a sentence, should ...
benregn's user avatar
  • 2,065
45 votes
4 answers

Should "So", "Therefore", "Hence", and "Thus" be followed by commas?

Often, I have come across sentences that begin with "So". Should such an usage of "So" be followed by a comma? Are the following examples correct. He is very good at computers. So, I think he can ...
Lone Learner's user avatar
44 votes
9 answers

Using a comma before "but"

I was once told by an English professor that a comma should never be used before but in a sentence. For years, I have followed her advice but sometimes I just feel like it just needs to be there. On ...
jon_brockman's user avatar
44 votes
2 answers

In what cases should I use a comma after "please"?

As far as I can see from different texts, there seems to be no strict rule about putting comma after "Please" when it is used as an introduction to a request. Am I right? In what cases using comma ...
rem's user avatar
  • 10.3k
42 votes
6 answers

When do we need to put a comma after "so" at the beginning of a sentence?

I noticed that most of the times when the conjunction "so" is used at the beginning of a sentence, it is followed by a comma: So, this gets published but the fact that it is inaccurate gets ...
Lukman's user avatar
  • 1,244
40 votes
5 answers

Should I capitalize the starting sentence after a greeting that ends in a comma (e.g. "Hello,")?

Should I open the starting sentence after comma in adressing "Hi," ("Hello,") with capital letter? Hi, Xxxl, Dear Xxx L, let me ... vs. Dear Xxx L, Let me ... In Russian it is ...
Gennady Vanin Геннадий Ванин's user avatar
35 votes
3 answers

Do you need a comma before a subordinating conjunction (like if)?

Are both of the following sentences correct? a: You can call me, if you need me. OR b: You can call if you need me. Note that in a:, the comma is placed before the "if" and is not present in case ...
Ray's user avatar
  • 534
33 votes
4 answers

Complete the job, as directed. There is a comma. why?

The following sentences both say that you have been directed to do a job: Complete the job, as directed. vs Complete the job as directed. But which of the two sentences above will assert ...
adityasrivastav's user avatar
33 votes
7 answers

How many people are in the sentence "My friend, John, and I went shopping"?

My friend, John, and I went shopping. My friend John and I went shopping. I believe we need to wrap our friend's name in commas (first sentence example), but wouldn't that make it three people?...
RossAlexander's user avatar
33 votes
2 answers

Should you use a comma/period after "Thanks"/"Regards" in email signatures?

Normal practice is to end emails with a Thanks or Regards. My question is should there be a comma or a period or nothing after Thanks/Regards? Thanks, John Doe Or Thanks. John Doe ...
Nikhil Kashyap's user avatar
33 votes
5 answers

Punctuation for the phrase "including but not limited to"

When using the phrase "including but not limited to", how should it be punctuated? When used in the following (no punctuation): There are many activities including but not limited to ...
Cory Gross's user avatar
32 votes
4 answers

Is it appropriate to put a comma before "which"?

On Server Fault, we were discussing this question in chat. There are non-native speakers in the chat and somehow we got on the topic of grammar and proper use of commas. The sentence of interest: ...
MDMarra's user avatar
  • 471
31 votes
4 answers

Really nice, Mat

I see a lot of people saying things such as Nice work, Nick Or Thanks, Mat Is the comma really needed? I'm not 100% sure because my spelling and grammar is not great, but I think it reads ...
Mat's user avatar
  • 321
31 votes
7 answers

Where should the comma be placed in the salutation of a letter?

Sometimes I see a comma after the proper name: Hello Mr. Black, In order to give you.... But my native language is not English and I think that the comma in this phrase should be placed ...
igor's user avatar
  • 1,297
31 votes
3 answers

Parentheses vs. double commas vs. dashes to provide additional detail

When do you use commas and when do you use parentheses to provide more detail about something? For example: The suspect, Tom Wilson, is now being charged with murder. The suspect (Tom Wilson) is now ...
Senseful's user avatar
  • 2,259
29 votes
3 answers

How to punctuate an example indicated by "say"

I'm wondering how commas should be placed around the word "say" and the following clause in a sentence like this: If you have, say, a bucket, that you would like to fill with water, then ......
naught101's user avatar
  • 757
27 votes
4 answers

Should there be a comma before "though" when it occurs at the end of a sentence?

Consider I don't know how outdated it is though. Should there be a comma before though, as in the following? I don't know how outdated it is, though.
Peter Mortensen's user avatar
25 votes
5 answers

Placement of comma before quotation mark

What is the rule for comma placement before a quotation mark? When should the comma go before and when should it go after the quotation mark?
jrdioko's user avatar
  • 1,041
25 votes
3 answers

Comma after introductory words, phrases, clauses: unacceptable, obligatory or optional?

I am no native speaker and always confused about the comma in introductory phrases, in particular in prepositional phrases. Is there any hard rule when a comma must be set? If I make a google search ...
Boris's user avatar
  • 353
24 votes
1 answer

"If" with implicit "then" question: Should a comma be used?

Consider the following phrase: If the fruit is an apple, it should be given to children. Is the comma after apple necessary? Is it optional? Is it wrong?
Michael Goldshteyn's user avatar
23 votes
2 answers

Comma or no comma before "too"?

Consider the following examples: "And it is a bottle, too." "And it is a bottle too." Is there a semantic difference between these two sentences? Or do they mean the same thing, with or without the ...
gablin's user avatar
  • 1,155
22 votes
4 answers

I thought blah blah blah, and I was right. Is the comma correct?

This sentence is bugging me: I knew going in that the orange flavor component of the cake was going to be lacking, and I was right. The comma doesn't seem to be enough, but the semicolon just ...
Jolenealaska's user avatar
  • 1,786
22 votes
3 answers

Use of a semicolon before and comma after "however"

Several years ago, a previous boss told me to use a semicolon and comma with the word "however". I've always questioned this and would like to know if the following random sentences are using the ...
Ross Johnston's user avatar
21 votes
5 answers

Is it acceptable to drop the comma in "Thanks, John"? [duplicate]

I grew up learning that the comma must be placed there, but it seems like an unnecessary interruption in a phrase that isn't ever spoken that way.
chimerical's user avatar
20 votes
2 answers

Hello [Comma?] John,

I have a follow up question to this question: Should you use a comma/period after "Thanks"/"Regards" in email signatures? My question is: when should you add a comma when starting ...
Thomas's user avatar
  • 1,052
19 votes
2 answers

Name for rhetorical technique of abandoning commas in a long list?

I just came across a very nice example of a rhetorical structure I know I have seen many, many times: Our national character feels like it’s possessed by every hellish ghost of American history: ...
mweiss's user avatar
  • 628
19 votes
3 answers

When writing large numbers, should a comma be inserted?

I know that it is common to write the number 'ten thousand' as a numeral with a comma delimiting the 10 and the 000 like so: 10, 000 However, I have never seen a comma used for numbers less than 10,...
Todd Davies's user avatar
18 votes
7 answers

Semicolons at the end of list items

In school, we were taught to end each list item with a semicolon. But I have never actually seen this. Can somebody please confirm this? Should we end each list item with anything at all? I've seen ...
Arrow's user avatar
  • 343
18 votes
1 answer

Oxford comma before "or"?

Is the Oxford comma restricted to the use of "and"? Or can/should it be also applied in sentences with "or"? I would choose physics, mathematics or biology. I would choose physics, mathematics,...
Stefan Surkamp's user avatar
18 votes
3 answers

Any exception with commas before and after "for example"?

I know that usually there should be a comma after "for example" and "for instance" but in the following sentences the commas would seem odd, wouldn't they? While it is common practice to do ...
Hannah's user avatar
  • 211
17 votes
4 answers

Meaning of "My friend, who lives in Paris, is a teacher" with and without commas

Can anyone help me understand the difference in meaning between these two sentences? My friend who lives in Paris is a teacher. My friend, who lives in Paris, is a teacher. To me it seems ...
Larry B's user avatar
  • 472
16 votes
6 answers

If you're using a quote with a period but do not want to end the sentence, do you keep the period?

For example. If I want to quote a passage from a writing, that says The cake is not a lie. and my sentence is: The book by author states that "The cake is not a lie." however studies show that ...
laphiloctete's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers

How is punctuation used after dashes?

I use em dashes frequently to break up random or ancillary thoughts in my writing. However, I'm uncertain how to deal with punctuation after an em dash when my sentence continues. For example, which ...
user avatar
15 votes
10 answers

Why is the sentence "She sighed, and began whispering again" grammatically incorrect?

That's a line from a Twilight book. It's a grammar mistake pointed out by this website. She sighed, and began whispering again. I don't see anything wrong with it. Is the comma the mistake?
wyc's user avatar
  • 13.2k
15 votes
4 answers

Comma in compound/complex sentences

Is there a rule, which states that one must or must not use comma before "then" in a sentence like this: If you can read this, then you might want to answer this question.
Artem Pakk's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer

Can I put a comma before as well?

Can a comma be placed before as well? People aren’t just struggling with the snow near their homes, it’s affecting their daily travels as well.
Steve's user avatar
  • 201
14 votes
4 answers

In which cases is a comma/period placed inside or outside of parentheses?

Are there cases where a period is placed inside parentheses? In which cases the period (or a comma) should be placed inside the parentheses?
apaderno's user avatar
  • 59.2k
14 votes
3 answers

When to use commas in a sentence that starts with "finally", "additionally", etc.?

If I have a sentence that starts with additionally, finally, consequently, etc. do I always have to put a comma after it? Or is there a different rule?
RoflcoptrException's user avatar
14 votes
6 answers

When should you use a semicolon *with* a conjunction?

I know the basics of a semicolon—at least I think I do. Aside from delimiting verbose lists, it separates independent clauses of a sentence. So, if you have two independent clauses in a sentence, ...
Adam Rackis's user avatar
14 votes
3 answers

Can a sentence starting with "While, ..." be grammatically correct?

I have a colleague who often writes sentences in the form "While, [these circumstances would make X seem unlikely to be the case], [these other circumstances show that X is in fact the case]. For ...
user avatar
14 votes
5 answers

Which type of comma is used here?

I was reading a book called "The Penguin Guide to Punctuation" by R. L. Trask. It seems that the book doesn't explain all the uses of comma. It says "There are four uses of the comma, called the ...
cpx's user avatar
  • 601
13 votes
6 answers

How to punctuate lists that are nested to three levels?

A basic list is punctuated like this: The park has some bears, deers, and other animals. (bears) (deers) (other animals) When commas appear inside the items of a list, or when lists appear inside ...
Village's user avatar
  • 2,051
13 votes
5 answers

Oxford Comma Conventions

According to the Wikipedia page for the Oxford Comma, "Use of the comma is consistent with conventional practice" and "Use of the comma is inconsistent with conventional practice." Did the Oxford ...
user avatar
13 votes
3 answers

Do I need to put a comma before every "because"? [closed]

I am correcting a document and was told that I have to put a comma before every occurrence of “because” mid-sentence. Example: This might be because another algorithm was chosen. The corrector ...
Ingo's user avatar
  • 271

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