Rule 1: Use a comma BEFORE a coordinating conjunction (and, but,
for, nor, or, so, yet) in a compound sentence.
Eg: Alex Eisen and Lauren Kelly left the party, but Emily
Hoppe and Arvind G. remained to talk to Lauren S.
Rule 2: Use a comma AFTER an introductory word, phrase, or
Clause that comes before the main clause in a sentence.
Eg Word: Strangely, Vortex Terrill and Anderson R. enjoy
talking to themselves in language arts class.
Eg Phrase: Despite Kaitlyn K.’s high hopes, neither she
nor Graham G. will escape taking the spelling
test on Friday.
Eg Clause: Because Lindsay T. was ill, she suffered great
Grief when she attempted her make-up work.
Rule 3: Use commas around words, phrases, or clauses which are
NONESSENTIAL to the meaning of the sentence.
Eg Word: Mrs. D. is attempting, faithfully, to have
to have patience with John R. and Cadie N. chatting in
Eg Phrase: Sean Moss, browsing happily through the
magazine, found the perfect article on Kung Fu cooking
for his Toastmaster speech.
Eg Clause: Will Ellis, who has often had his conduct card
initialed, is now a model student.
Rule 4: Use commas between items in a series or coordinate
adjectives(not cumulative adjectives).
Eg Words: Maren and Sydney were talking, laughing,
and throwing spit wads at Jagger and Clark.
Eg Phrase: As Mrs. D. taught the class, Ciara J. and
Sheane F. chewed gum, listened to Toby Keith on their
i-pods, and gulped down Gator Aid.
Eg Clause: Though Emy Stevens and Giulia Seghezzo
talk incessantly, trash up their area, and leave their
chairs out, Mrs. D. cares for them dearly.
Eg Coordinate Adjectives: Alexis K. and McLain Driver
Are warm, gentle, kind students.
Eg cumulative Adjectives: Matt Lewis and Jared Falk ordered a rich chocolate layer cake.
Rule 5: Use commas before and after direct quotes within a sentence.
Eg: “To make the right impression when cheering at
games,” said Emilie Fromm and Megan Collins, “girls should
always behave like ladies.”
Eg: Melissa Harnois and Annie Andrews yelled, “Give the pom-poms back, you jerks!” as they chased after Jacob Gerster and Joshua Schwarz.
Rule 6: Use a comma before an afterthought or contrasting
Eg Afterthought: Carter Doyle feels that he plays football
well, even better at times than Arman Y. or Assesandro B.
Eg Contrasting Element: Anna S.and Sierra Miller want to
models because of their awesome height, not just to make
gobs of money.
Rule 7: Use commas to set off geographical names, dates, and
professional titles, and addresses.
Eg Geographical: Sam Malpiedi says she’s from Raleigh,
North Carolina, but everyone knows she’s really from
Eg Dates: Jackie Binsfield and Nicole Darian were ticketed
for excessive bike speeding on August 21, 2007, but they
both pleaded innocent to the charges.
Eg Titles: Dr. Robert Knowlton, M.D. and Dr. Adam Clare, Ph.D., will be speaking to the class about the stress that causes nose bleeds and how to treat them without getting the attention of peers.
Eg Addresses: Samantha Shapiro and Callie V. both seem
to live at 11130 E. Cholla Street, Scottsdale, Arizona 85259.
Rule 8: Use commas to set off a direct address, the words yes or
No, interrogative tags, and most interjections.
Eg Direct Address: Forgive us, Dr. Harcus, for
doubting your vast knowledge of science.
Eg Yes,No: No, Patrick D., I can not take that grade
off your progress report.
Eg Int. Tags: Jonathan A. and Chris B. are certainly
great ping pong players, aren’t they?
Eg Mild Interj: Well, Damon M. will need a miracle to
get out of Mr. Eppley’s science project.