By Lauren Cerretti
Commas have been coming up a lot in my tutoring sessions lately, so I thought I’d provide a link to a helpful website. The comma is one of the more confusing pieces of punctuation, but there are really a few main uses of it.
One use is list-making, which a lot of us do in professional documents. Ex.: Oscar Hijuelos’s work evokes feelings of loneliness, love, and nostalgia.
Another use is when a sentence begins with an introductory element. Ex.: In this sense, Hijuelos is a genius. OR However, most critics do not agree.
A comma is also used when a sentence begins with a dependent clause (a fragment on its own) followed by an independent clause (a full sentence all on its own). Ex.: Although she did not like to write, she wrote every day.
A set of commas is used when a writer offers information that is cursory to the sentence’s thought. Ex.: Both bull and cow elk, which frequent Mammoth Springs, reside throughout the Yellowstone ecosystem.
So here’s a link with more examples and more in-depth explanations: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_comma.html
About the author: Lauren Cerretti is the graduate writing tutor at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana.