Grammar Tip: Comma Functions!

Grandpa might die! How to save grandpa from cannibalism?

You don't need guns or army training to save Grandpa.

You just need to learn how to punctuate correctly.

A comma actually does the following things:

  • separates items in a series. 
       EX: Mary loves the colors red, blue, and green. 

Note that the comma goes before the final "and." Diana Hacker (author of the bestselling and lifesaving A Writer's Reference series) also discusses this in her fantastic books.

[NOTE: There's some debate about placing the comma before the 'and'. Newspapers and certain publishing houses sometimes don't use the final comma due to space allotment or individual style.]
  • separates two independent clauses when used with a conjunction (one of the FANBOYS - For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So). 
      EX: I hate movies, but I love plays. 

The first independent clause is I hate movies.
The second independent clause is I love plays
They are connected by a comma and a FANBOYS (coordinating conjunction).
  • separates a dependent clause (introductory clause) from an independent clause
     EX: After Anne went for a walk, she made dinner.

The dependent clause is After Anne went for a walk. 
The independent clause is she made dinner.
The comma connects them.

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