This section of Exploring English describes the English comma ( , ).
Used to set off three or more elements of a series:
The flag was red, white, and blue.
Note: Some writers prefer to omit the final comma. This is optional, at best, but beware that you do not stumble into a sentence like the following:
The two-toned balloons were blue and red, yellow and purple and black and white.
Used to set off asides, or nonrestrictive clauses:
The car, which happened to be red, drove through the kitchen.
Used to separate introductory and transitional words and phrases:
However, all is not lost.
Used to separate clauses in a compound sentence:
The task was great, but the rewards were even greater.
Used to separate quoted matter from the rest of the sentence:
The instructor said, "Take a break."
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Last Modified April 08, 2003