Comma Rules



Dear Students,

This is a simple rule about commas that you should all know. You must use a comma after a greeting. Don’t forget to use a comma after the closing of a letter.


Your Teacher

2.  Always Remember… the comma between city/state

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

3.  You put a comma after both the city and state when located in the middle of the sentence.

I have lived in Augusta, Maine, for over twenty years.

4.  A comma should be used between the number of the day and the number of the year in a date.  A comma should also be used at the end of the date if the date does not end a sentence.  Do not separate the day and month of a date with a comma.

My son was born on September 28, 1994.

September 11, 2001, was a day I will never forget.

August 31 was the first day of school.

5.  Use Commas in a Series of Items.  Use commas to separate the words or word groups in a series

Johnny, Mary, Jeremy, and Roberta are going to the Christmas party.

Each student wrote a paper, gave a presentation, and met with the teacher.

6.  Use a comma to separate two adjectives when the word “and” can be inserted between them.

He is a strong, healthy man.

Commas in Compound Sentences

Use a comma before a conjunction — and, but, or, nor, for, so, or yet—to separate two complete sentences

I went home early yesterday, but I still missed his call.

7.   Use commas to indicate direct address of a person’s name.   Use commas before or surrounding the name or title of a person directly addressed.   NOTE: Capitalize a title of respect when directly addressing someone.

Will you, Ally, do that assignment for me?

Will you do that assignment for me, Ally?

No, Sir, I don’t have my homework.

8.  Use Commas to set off interjections or introductory words from the rest of the sentence.  Use a comma when beginning sentences with introductory words such as well, now, or yes.

Yes, I do need that report.

Well, I never thought I’d live to see the day . . .

9.  Use a comma after a long phrase or group of phrases that comes before the subject of a sentence.

After watching a movie and eating lunch, we met friends at the ballpark.

10.  Use commas to introduce or interrupt direct quotations.

He actually said, “I do not care.”

“Why,” I asked, “do you always forget to do it?”

11.  A complex sentence is made from an independent clause and a dependent clause joined together.

After I came home, I made dinner.

(dependent clause: “After I came home”)

is a phrase and cannot stand on its own

(independent clause: “I made dinner.”)

is a sentence on its own


Complex sentences are often formed by putting these words at the beginning of the dependent clause:

as, as if, before, after, because, though, although, even though, while, when, whenever, if, during, as soon as, as long as, since, until, unless, where, wherever.

These words are called subordinating conjunctions.

12.  When the dependent clause comes at the end of a sentence, no comma is needed.

We were happy when class was finally over.

13.  Use commas to set off parenthetical elements–extra information.  A Parenthetical Element is a word or string of words which contains relevant yet non-essential information.

The tortoise, as far as we know, has been on earth for thousands of years.

Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, first owned this house.

We bought the car from Mr. Robinson, our neighbor.

Mr. Robinson,whose hobby is woodworking, loves to attend craft shows and flea markets.


(adapted from source)