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.

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