EXERCISE 30 Look for the introductory word or phrase. Then add a comma to correct the sentence. 1. Suddenly the dog ran into the house. 2. In the blink of an eye the kids were ready to go to the movies. 3. Confused he tried opening the box from the other end. 4. Without a doubt green is my favorite color. 5. Hesitating she looked back at the directions before proceeding. 6. Fortunately the sleeping baby did not stir when the doorbell rang. 7. Believe it or not the criminal was able to rob the same bank three times. Commas in a List of Items When you want to list several nouns in a sentence, you separate each word with a comma. This allows the reader to pause after each item and identify which words are included in the grouping. When you list items in a sentence, put a comma after each noun, then add the word and before the last item. We’ll need to get flour, tomatoes, and cheese at the store. The pizza will be topped with olives, peppers, and pineapple chunks. Commas and Coordinating Adjectives You can use commas to list both adjectives and nouns. A string of adjectives that describe a noun are called coordinating adjectives. These adjectives come before the noun they modify and are separated by commas. One important thing to note, however, is that unlike listing nouns, the word and does not always need to be before the last adjective. It was a bright, windy, clear day. Our kite glowed red, yellow, and blue in the morning sunlight. EXERCISE 31 Use what you have learned so far about comma use to add commas to the following sentences. 1. Monday Tuesday and Wednesday are all booked with meetings. 2. It was a quiet uneventful unproductive day. 3. We’ll need to prepare statements for the Franks Todds and Smiths before their portfolio reviews next week. 4. Michael Nita and Desmond finished their report last Tuesday. 5. With cold wet aching fingers he was able to secure the sails before the storm. 246 Return to Table of Contents 6. He wrote his name on the board in clear precise delicate letters. Commas before Conjunctions in Compound Sentences Commas are used to separate two independent clauses. The comma comes after the first independent clause and is followed by a conjunction, such as for, and, or but. He missed class today, and he thinks he will be out tomorrow, too. He says his fever is gone, but he is still very tired. Commas before and after Interrupting Words In conversations, you might interrupt your train of thought by giving more details about what you are talking about. In a sentence, you might interrupt your train of thought with a word or phrase called interrupting words. Interrupting words can come at the beginning or middle of a sentence. When the interrupting words appear at the beginning of the sentence, a comma appears after the word or phrase. If you can believe it, people once thought the sun and planets orbited around Earth. Luckily, some people questioned that theory. When interrupting words come in the middle of a sentence, they are separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. You can determine where the commas should go by looking for the part of the sentence that is not essential for the sentence to make sense. An Italian astronomer, Galileo, proved that Earth orbited the sun. We have known, for hundreds of years now, that the Earth and other planets exist in a solar system. EXERCISE 32 Insert commas to separate the interrupting words from the rest of the sentence. 1. I asked my neighbors the retired couple from Florida to bring in my mail. 2. Without a doubt his work has improved over the last few weeks. 3. Our professor Mr. Alamut drilled the lessons into our heads. 4. The meeting is at noon unfortunately which means I will be late for lunch. 5. We came in time for the last part of dinner but most importantly we came in time for dessert. 6. All of a sudden our network crashed and we lost our files. 7. Alex hand the wrench to me before the pipe comes loose again. Commas in Dates, Addresses, and the Greetings and Closings of Letters You also use commas when you write the date, such as in cover letters and emails. Commas are used when you write the date, when you include an address, and when you greet someone. If you are writing out the full date, add a comma after the day and before the year. You do not need to add a comma when you write the month and day or when you write the month and the year. If you need to continue the sentence after you add a date that includes the day and year, add a comma after the end of the date. The letter is postmarked May 4, 2001. Her birthday is May 5. 247 Return to Table of Contents He visited the country in July 2009. I registered for the conference on March 7, 2010, so we should get our tickets soon. You also use commas when you include addresses and locations. When you include an address in a sentence, be sure to place a comma after the street and after the city. Do not place a comma between the state and the zip code. Like a date, if you need to continue the sentence after adding the address, simply add a comma after the address. We moved to 4542 Boxcutter Lane, Hope, Missouri 70832. After moving to Boston, Massachusetts, Eric used public transportation to get to work. Greetings are also separated by commas. When you write an email or a letter, you add a comma after the greeting word or the person’s name. You also need to include a comma after the closing, which is the word or phrase you put before your signature. Hello, I would like more information about your job posting. Thank you, Anita Al-Sayf Dear Mrs. Al-Sayf, Thank you for your letter. Please read the attached document for details. Sincerely, Jack Fromont


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