When to Use a Comma

The comma is one of the most frequently misused punctuation marks. If used correctly, it may bring clarity to your writing.

Here are 5 instances that require the use of the comma:

1. Listing items in a series

The comma is placed after each item listed in a series. In American English, this also includes the item that precedes the conjunction. This comma, which precedes the penultimate item is known as the Oxford (or serial) comma.

For example:

LingScript.com offers editing, content writing, copywriting, proofreading, and transcription services.

British English holds the preference to eliminate this comma.

For example:

LingScript.com offers editing, content writing, copywriting, proofreading and transcription services.

This use of the Oxford comma may sometimes be necessary to avoid ambiguity and misunderstanding. Its use in these instances ensures clarity.

For example:

I saw the clowns, my parents and my brother.


I saw the clowns, my parents, and my brother.

In the first example, the clowns are my parents and my brother.

In the second example, however, the presence of the Oxford comma assists in indicating that the clowns are separate from my parents and my brother.

2. Joining two independent clauses

The comma is placed before a conjunction that joins two independent clauses. Independent clauses express a complete idea, and the conjunctions that join them are referred to as coordinating conjunctions. These conjunctions are and, for, but, yet, nor, so and or.

For example:

We went to the supermarket, and we went to the bakery.

3. Incorporating a quotation in a sentence

A comma is also used to set off a quotation from the rest of the sentence.

For example:

“I was very pleased with the transcription services offered by LingScript,” said Miss Green.

Miss Green said, "I am thankful for any company that provides proofreading services at affordable rates."

4. Writing the date

A comma is also used to separate parts of the date.

For example:

He was born on Wednesday, January 3, 1985.

Note that a comma does not separate the month from the day.

5. Separating related clauses

We saw in 2 that the comma may be used to separate independent clauses. However, it may also be used to separate a main clause from a subordinate clause.

For example:

Although I had requested assistance with editing my assignment the day before it was due, LingScript returned the edited document to me on time.

Subordinate clauses begin with a special type of conjunction known as a subordinating conjunction. Some of these conjunctions are although, because, even though and though.

If the subordinating clause follows the main clause, a comma does not separate them.

For example:

Companies that provide editing and proofreading services are important because they assist me in expressing my brilliant ideas clearly.

Overall, it may be said that when used correctly, the comma adds clarity to your writing. It is used to list items in a series, to join two independent clauses, to incorporate a quotation in a sentence, to format dates and to separate related clauses. For more writing tips, be sure to make use our writers' resources and our informative videos.

LingScript understands the need to accurately represent your words and the information you have gathered, hence the offering of efficient transcription service. We do realise as well that information is effective only if it is adequately understood by the intended target audience. Mistakes, such as an incorrectly placed comma, may detract from the rich content of your writing. Your drafts may, therefore, benefit greatly from thorough proofreading and editing services. You also may opt to have an experienced writer complete the task for you.

Regardless of the process you decide on to complete the writing of that final draft, do remember to place your commas well!

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