How to Efficiently Use a Comma in your writing

Flynn Hannan
Writers Republic
Published in
3 min readDec 20, 2022

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how to use comma in your writing

As a writer, it is important that you know how to use all the tools at your disposal. Remember that writing is very technical, and one misplaced comma or misused word could change the entire tone of your work.

The comma is a particularly important tool, and has a lot of uses. However, if you are going to use the comma in your writing, you will need to be careful. Here are some key rules to follow when using the comma.

1. Use a comma before a question tag.

Commas are perfect for sentences wherein you add a question after making a statement. This makes the question sound more organic and less forced.

Example:

· I think the English tradition of afternoon tea is so dignified, don’t you think?

· The Christmas season is the best time of the year, don’t you agree?

2. Learn how to use the Oxford comma.

While some writers disagree on the necessity of the Oxford comma, you should still know how to use this comma technique. In layman’s terms, the Oxford comma is the final comma in a list.

Example:

· I went to an international buffet where they served Korean, Japanese, and Indian cuisine.

· To build a ship, you’ll need a plan, tools, and some manpower.

3. Utilize a comma before you use while in a sentence.

If you want to contrast two ideas in a sentence, you should add a comma before you use while. If you don’t use a comma before using while, the sentence may lack that contrasting element.

Example:

· The European long sword had a straight blade, while the Japanese katana had a slightly curved one.

· Marathon running uses slow twitch muscles, while sprinting utilizes fast-twitch muscles.

4. Use a comma with a coordinating conjunction to connect two complete sentences.

In layman’s terms, a coordinating conjunction is a conjunction set between two phrases, words, or sentences of the same importance. To connect complete sentences, you could use so, for, and, nor, but, or, yet as coordinating conjunctions.

Example:

· I wanted to cook a soufflé for my wife, so I took some cooking classes.

· We wanted to catch some salmon, so we traveled to the nearby pond.

5. A comma is perfect for linking an incomplete sentence with a complete one.

An incomplete sentence is a sentence that cannot stand on its own. This is why you should use a comma to link a complete sentence to an incomplete one. By doing so, you will be able to create a full sentence.

Example:

· Although I did not feel like it, I went to work early in the morning.

· Despite the wound in his leg, he was still able to win the basketball game for his team.

6. Utilize a comma for two coordinate adjectives describing the same noun.

Utilizing coordinate adjectives could be tricky. What is a coordinating adjective? It is one or more adjectives that describe the same noun. A comma is a great way to separate the two coordinating adjectives. This will give your writing a great deal more clarity.

Example:

· The blacksmith makes sturdy, flexible swords.

· The Great Dane is a wonderful, gentle dog.

7. Use commas to separate non-essential information in a sentence.

Non-essential information is information that is not necessary to the main point of a sentence. This type of information could still be used in a sentence because it adds a sense of flair. However, you should always use a comma to separate it from the essential information in the sentence. This will give your work a sense of clarity.

Example:

· The young man, with a great sense of dignity and pride, picked a fight with the town bully.

· The old man, with great care and wisdom, taught his students how to be better people.

Conclusion

Writing is a very multi-faceted endeavor, and you will need to be as efficient as possible. Using the comma is particularly important, because it has so many functions. With these tips, you’ll be able to use the comma in the most effective way possible.

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Flynn Hannan
Writers Republic

Bibliophile , Senior Indie Editor at Writers Republic