Three new rules for handling commas

Journalism professor Don Ranly wraps up his three-part series on the most common punctuation mark.

Journalism professor Don Ranly wraps up his three-part series on the most common punctuation mark

It’s time I finished my ranting about commas. I promised you eight nearly infallible, always usable rules, and so far I have delivered only five of them.

Let me state those five once again before I go on:

If you missed the explanations for these guidelines, you can find them in the Ragan archives.

Now the next rule is a bit more arbitrary. You won’t find it written down in many places, but it’s a good one for editors to follow. Let me preface it by saying that some editors, to be consistent, say that you should place a comma after every introductory prepositional phrase. You can adopt that practice if you want, and no one can cite you for an error. Do you think a comma is necessary in this two-word introductory prepositional phrase?

Example: In Chicago, it snowed yesterday.

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