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When and Where to Use a Comma: 5 Rules to Remember

Commas are really great for helping to make sentences clear, but English learners often feel unsure about where to place them.

We at TextRanch have recognized this struggle, and this is our response to it! Getting right to the point, here are five situations in which commas are needed:  

1. To connect independent clauses

A comma is used to properly combine two complete sentences.


Each rabbit was hopping, and all the chickens were clucking.

2. Between the names of a city and country

This one is simple. Always place a comma between city and country.


Do your grandparents live in Vancouver, Canada?

3. Between a date and year

Another easy one! See the example sentence just below.


The Orville brothers first took flight on December 17th, 1903.

(Note: This rule does not apply in British English!!!)

4. Addressing someone directly

When using someone’s name while speaking to them, add a comma right before it.


Hello, John! How are you today?

5. In a series/list of items

When dealing with a list of three or more things, punctuation is used to separate each one.

Example: Students are required to bring a pencil, calculator, and protractor.

(Note: The final comma in the list is optional but recommended for clarity)


See, commas aren’t so difficult after all! Following these rules can assist you in making your writing more readable (click here for more tips!) and easier to understand.

Also, there are more than just 5 rules, which means that a follow-up to this post may be coming… Please stay tuned for that and rate/comment/share if you enjoyed the material!

Thanks a million ♥

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