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Grade 5
Aug 27, 2022

Read the following sentences: 

  1. The short story, the Tell Tale Heart, was written by Edgar Allan Poe. 
  2. Jack, the protagonist of Titanic, dies at the end of the movie. 

The sentences above, use an extra word or phrase to describe the noun. But if you look closely, the noun and the phrase that refers to the noun are separated by a small punctuation.  

As we all know, this punctuation is called a comma. The comma is used to indicate a very short break within a sentence. It usually separates words, phrases, and ideas within a sentence. 

The above sentences make good use of the comma. The comma is one of the most inappropriately and misused punctuations in English. Because the rules that are to be kept in mind while using it are not always necessarily followed. 

Let us have a look at some of the rules that should to be applied while using the comma

Rule 1: 

Read the sentence: 

  • Jack, the protagonist of Titanic, dies at the end of the movie. 

This sentence, like mentioned before, has another phrase the protagonist of Titanic, to refer to the noun, Jack. Phrases like these are called apposition/appositive and commas should be used to mark off a noun or phrase in sentences consisting of appositives, like; 

  • George Washington, the first President of America, died in 1799. 
  • Miss Smith, my favorite teacher, left the school last week. 
  • Russia, the largest country in the world, spreads across both Asia and Europe. 

Rule 2: 

Commas should be used before question tags to turn a statement into a question, like; 

  • It is raining, isn’t it? 
  • We will win, won’t we? 
  • They are playing football, aren’t they? 

Rule 3: 

Commas should be used while writing the date in month-date-year format, like; 

  • I was born on September 30, 1996. 
  • March 26, 2010, was an important day in my file. 

While referring to a day of the week along with its date, commas should be used, like; 

  • The conference will be held of Friday, December 20, at 10 AM. 
  • The movie will be releasing on Friday, December 17th

Rule 4: 

While addressing a person, mark off the names with commas, like; 

  • Mom, did you see my new pair of shoes? 
  • How are you doing, Richard? 
  • Steve, there’s someone waiting to meet you. 

Rule 5: 

If a participle phrase is used in a sentence as an introductory phrase, commas should be used, like; 

  • Confused by his sudden outburst, everyone remained silent. 
  • Having said that, I don’t think we should be doing it anymore. 
  • Grabbing everyone’s attention, Linda delivered a mesmerizing speech. 


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