Commas and Semicolons: Commas and Semicolons How to Use them correctly What are commas?: What are commas? Commas (,) are punctuation marks that separate words and word groups to help readers understand a sentence more easily. Here are the basic rules of when to use a comma in English . . . . PowerPoint Presentation: Use commas to separate items in a list (2 or more) Examples: 1. He likes mustard , ketchup , and relish on his hot dogs. 2. She has traveled to New York , Florida , and Texas—all within the last six months! Commas: Rule #1 The comma BEFORE “and” is considered OPTIONAL. PowerPoint Presentation: Use a comma after an introductory phrase Examples: 1. After dinner , we decided to take a walk in the park. 2. Despite the rain , we had a good time in Hawaii. Commas: Rule #2 PowerPoint Presentation: Use a comma after an introductory phrase Examples: 1. In order to get a certificate , you must fulfill all the requirements. 2. In the beginning , John was lonely in the U.S. Commas: Rule #2 (continued) PowerPoint Presentation: Use commas to separate an appositive or interrupter : Examples: 1. Bill Gates , one of the richest men in the world , lives in Washington State. 2. Gates and his wife , I recently learned , have three children. Commas: Rule #3 Appositive: a phrase that “restates” or describes the noun. Interrupter: a phrase that “interrupts” the sentence. appositive PowerPoint Presentation: Use commas to separate appositives or interrupters from the rest of the sentence . . . Examples: 1. Mr. Smith , the mayor of our town , will speak tomorrow. 2. The mayor , I heard , is going to resign. Commas: Rule #3 (continued) appositive interrupter PowerPoint Presentation: Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction that connects 2 independent clauses Example: 1. Paul was confused , so he asked a question. Commas: Rule #4 Coordinating conjunctions = and, or, but, so, etc . Independent clause Independent clause s o – coordinating conjunction PowerPoint Presentation: Use a comma after a dependent clause. In other words, use a comma when starting a sentence with a dependent clause . Commas: Rule #5 for example… PowerPoint Presentation: After I woke up , I made coffee. OR I made coffee after I woke up. If you start with AFTER, you need to use a comma between clauses; No comma is necessary if you put AFTER in the middle. PowerPoint Presentation: Use a comma to separate a quote from the rest of sentence. Examples: 1. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said , “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” 2. “I didn’t get a good description of the thief , ” the victim told the police officer. Commas: Rule #6 Quote = words someone else said. PowerPoint Presentation: DO NOT use a comma like a period. For example, don’t use a comma to separate two independent clauses (unless there is a coordinating conjunction: and, or, but, etc.) Incorrect! She works hard, I think she’ll get a raise. I want to get in shape, I joined the gym. To make correct, -Change the commas to periods. -OR, add a coordinating conjunction after the comma to create a compound sentence. Comma Misuse: PowerPoint Presentation: Incorrect! She works hard, I think she’ll get a raise. I want to get in shape, I joined the gym. Correct: She works hard . I think she’ll get a raise. I want to get in shape . I joined the gym. Correct: She works hard , and I think she’ll get a raise. I want to get in shape , so I joined the gym. Corrected Sentences: Change commas to periods. Keep commas but ADD coordinating conjunction. introducing . . . : introducing . . . The semicolon What is a semicolon?: What is a semicolon? A semicolon is not a comma, a nd it’s not a period. It’s kind of “in the middle” of the two. It is a break in thought, but not a complete stop… more like a longer pause . More explanation… PowerPoint Presentation: We use a semicolon between independent clauses without a coordinating conjunction . When we use a semicolon, the two clauses are similar or related in some way. Examples: 1. I love Italian food ; p izza is my favorite. 2. Kathy travels a lot ; s he went to five different countries last year. Semicolon Rule: No capital letter after a semicolon More information . . .: More information . . . A semicolon can be used instead of a period if there is a connection or relation between the two sentences. We usually don’t use two semicolons in a row (like we do with periods). Also, don’t overuse semicolons. They are NOT as common as periods. Example: Kelly works hard ; it’s no surprise that she got a raise ; she deserves it. Change the second semicolon to a period. Don’t use two in a row. Practice . . . : Practice . . . . . . is the key! This week, we will practice writing with commas and semicolons. Writing is hard, but don’t give up!