So today I’d like to focus on the comma. It’s one of those little punctuation marks that too often are haphazardly thrown into text with no real purpose. Sometimes it’s used where it isn’t necessary, and other times it’s omitted when it should be present.
Now, you could get out your old grade-school grammar book and try a quick refresher on those comma rules, but that would prove more frustrating than anything else.
Instead, I’ve narrowed down the comma rules to those you will find most useful in your business writing.
1. If you combine two full sentences with a conjunction, you need a comma. What makes a sentence? A subject and a verb. In other words, an object and an action. If you have two complete sentences, you must combine them with a conjunction (the most common of which are and, but, and or). In this case, there needs to be a comma before the conjunction.
Example: John writes press releases, and Jill writes business blogs.
2. If you begin your sentence with an introductory phrase, you need a comma. These phrases often begin with words such as after, although, as, when, if, because, and even. A comma should separate the introductory phrase from the independent clause.