We use commas in the following situations:
1. Items in series:
- surprised, pleased, happy
- Eat, drink and be merry.
2. Co-ordinate Adjectives:
- a large, ugly snake
3. Nouns in Direct Address:
- Please, Mum, can I go out?
- Sally, what are we going to have?
- Sherlock Holmes lived at 221b Baker Street, London.
- I was born on November 23, 1975.
- Few people, however, have darkroom facilities for developing their own films.
7. Appositives and Non-restrictive clauses:
- Mary, who used to work in London, sent me a letter.
8. Compound Sentences:
- Americans use the word schedule instead of timetable, but Canadians usually use timetable.
Use a semi-colon when there is no conjunction:
- Americans use the word schedule instead of timetable; Canadians usually use timetable.
9. Introductory Elements - adverbial clauses, participial phrases, prepositional phrases followed by an infinitive:
- If someone makes a mistake, no one will know who did it!
- Thinking he had drowned, we returned to our base.
- No one will know who did it if someone makes a mistake.
- "I can take it home for dog," said the boy.
- "I will come," she said, "when I am ready."
© October 1999 English on the Internet www.aj.cz