More lessons about those pesky commas

Journalism professor Don Ranly delivers even more of his commas dos and don’ts.

Journalism professor Don Ranly delivers even more of his commas dos and don’ts

No one seemed to object to my first three guidelines for the use of commas, so I’m encouraged to go on with a few more.

First, for those who might have missed them, let’s look at the three we have discussed.

1. Always place a comma after words in a series but not before “and” or “or” unless the meaning is unclear.

2. Always place a comma after an introductory dependent clause in a complex sentence.

3. Always place a comma after an introductory independent clause in a compound sentence before the coordinating conjunction.

I shall not go into explanations or give examples again of these three guidelines. You’re on your own to find them in the Ragan files. We’re ready for Number 4, and it’s a dandy.

4. Always place a comma around nonessential, nonrestrictive words, phrases and clauses.

Example: Bill and his wife, Mabel, are both members.

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