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The Comma

=47. Parenthetic Expressions
Parenthetic words, phrases, and clauses,
whether used at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence, are set off
by commas when they cause a marked interruption between grammatically
connected parts of the sentence. If in doubt about the need of a comma,
omit it.

He, like many others, believes firmly in
the rightness of the new movement.

=48. Words in Apposition
A word in apposition with another word and
meaning the same thing should be set off by commas.

Henry Owen, lineman for the local
telegraph company, was the only witness of the

=49. With "namely," "that is," etc
A comma is placed before and,
namely, viz., that is, i.e., as, to wit, etc., when
introducing an example, an illustration, or an explanation.

=50. Contrasted Words and Phrases
Set off contrasted words and
phrases with commas.

Hard work, not genius, was what enabled
him to succeed.

The faster they work, the better they are

=51. Introductory Words and Phrases
Introductory words, phrases, and
clauses at the beginning of a sentence, when they modify the whole
sentence and serve as a connective, are set off by commas.

Yes, he had even tried to bribe the

On the other hand, the prisoner had taken
her for a member of the gang.

=52. In Direct Address
Words used in direct address are set off by

Mark this, gentlemen of the jury, in his
list of forgeries.

=53. Explanatory Dates and Names
A date explaining a previous date or
a geographical name explaining a previous name is set off by commas.

On April 2, 1916, she was arrested at
Chicago, Ill.

=54. Phrases Indicating Residence, Position, or Title
Omit the comma
before of in phrases indicating residence, position, or title.

Among the out-of-town guests were Miss
Helen Hahn of Gainesville, Mrs. Henry Bushman of
Athens, and Orren Cramer of Atlanta.

Dwight O. Conklin of the Bessemer Smelting
Company was the chief speaker.

=55. Academic and Honorary Titles
Academic and honorary titles are
set off from proper names and from each other by commas: as, President
O. N. Fowler, Ph.D., LL.D.

=56. Names Followed by Initials
Baptismal names or initials following
a surname are set off by commas: as, Arendale, Charles V.

=57. Words, Phrases, and Clauses in a Series
The members of a series
of two or more words, phrases, or clauses standing in the same relation
and not connected by conjunctions, are separated by commas. When the
series consists of three or more members and a conjunction is used to
connect only the last two, the comma may or may not be put before the
conjunction. Better usage, however, favors the inclusion of the comma.

The teller was kicked, beaten, and robbed
by four masked men.

=58. After Interjections
Interjections that are but slightly
exclamatory are followed by commas.

The following distinctions in the use of the
interjections O and oh may be noted: oh
generally takes a comma after it, O never; except
at the beginning of a sentence, oh is written with
a small letter, O always with a capital; and oh
is used always by itself, while O properly comes
only in direct address: as, O Lord of life.

Ah, the happy days and the happy city!

Oh, but the way the boys splashed!

=59. Short Quotations and Maxims
Set off short informal quotations
and maxims with commas.

He was last heard to say, "If I don't
return in time, call up the office."

=60. In Large Numbers
Use commas to separate large numbers into
groups of three figures each: as, $2,518,675. Omit the comma, however,
in dates and in street, telephone, and automobile numbers.

=61. Athletic Scores
In football, baseball, and similar records,
place a comma between the name of the team and its score: as, New
Orleans, 7; Memphis, 4.

=62. Biblical Passages
Place a comma between chapter and verse in
citations of biblical passages: as, John 2, 15.

=63. Resolutions for Debate
In resolutions for debate, put a comma
after Resolved.

Resolved, That women should be given the
right of suffrage.

=64. General Usage
In general, use a comma to mark any distinct pause
not indicated by other marks of punctuation, and to make clear any word,
phrase, or clause that may be obscure without a comma. But do not use
commas except when they are a distinct necessity. Omit them except when
they are needful for emphasis or for the clearness of the sentence.

Next: The Dash

Previous: The Semicolon

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