Do you have to put a comma before and in a list?

Rule #1. You want a comma earlier than coordinating conjunction linking two impartial clauses

A gaggle of phrases that may simply function a separate sentence known as an impartial clause. Once you wish to mix two such impartial clauses in a single sentence utilizing a coordinating conjunction (and, however, or, so, and so on.), there ought to be a comma earlier than this coordinating conjunction.

I went to the mall to attain new boots, however I failed to seek out my measurement.

Each clauses on this sentence may stand alone as separate sentences. Coordinating conjunction however combines them into one sentence, so we must always use a comma.


Rule #5. Use a comma in sentences starting with Sure or No

This one is a fairly easy rule. In case you have “sure” or “no” firstly of a sentence, you want a comma after them. Straightforward.

Sure, I’d wish to have some extra ice cream.

Ought to I exploit a comma earlier than a gap citation mark?

Once you embrace quoted materials or dialogue in a sentence then it’s best to proceed it with a comma until it suits into the circulate of the sentence seamlessly, e.g. The President stated that there’s “no smoking gun” to be discovered.

In these instances, the sentence could be syntactically right with out the citation marks, and you might be simply utilizing the citation marks to indicate that the quote is a direct quote. Usually, on this state of affairs, the quote will likely be preceded by “that”, e.g. He stated that “the nation will proceed to develop.”

In any other case, it’s best to use a comma earlier than opening citation marks, e.g. Sandra known as out, “What would you like from the shop?”

Don’t use a comma when “and” separates and impartial clause from a dependent clause

Now that we all know what an impartial clause is, what a few dependent clause?

Dependent clauses will virtually at all times be accompanied by a dependent clause.

A dependent clause by itself wouldn’t make any sense. It could make the reader confused about what you’re attempting to say.

Once you’re separating a dependent clause from an impartial clause, you’ll not use a comma.

When you’re questioning if a sentence with “and” has a dependent clause, do this…

Take away the “and”. Exchange it with a full cease. Does it make sense? If the reply isn’t any, you do not want a comma.

Examples of “and” separating an impartial and a dependant clause

“It was a preferred movie and introduced in £10k”.

“He wished to kill her and take over the world”.

“50 years in the past, he found hearth and burnt himself”

“Henry VII was a terrific king and an ever larger man”.

“Due to this fact this concept is silly as a result of it will probably get individuals killed and value us some huge cash”.

“I drink 6 glasses of water a day and 5 glasses of milk every week”.

“The lamp is a giant, purple factor and burns loads”.

“I personal a pot of pencils which I preserve in a glass jar and are very helpful”.

Errors and Options

Error and Solution

Error and Resolution


~The enchantment of Tesla’s Mannequin S lies in its attractive sports activities automotive design.

(What’s attractive—the sports activities, the automotive, or the design?)

~Punch mark or fill-in your poll. 

(Unclear which means)

~I want to thank my brothers, Sarah and Mary.

(Two brothers with feminine names? )

~On the tray had been bacon, eggs, salt, pepper, cookies and milk. 

(Not incorrect, however not the standard grouping.)

~Bob Dylan’s musical kinds embrace folks and rock and roll and rhythm and blues and nation and gospel. 

(Unclear which means—what are the musical kinds?)


The enchantment of Tesla’s Mannequin S lies in its attractive, sports-car design. If attractive is a second modifier to design, use a comma.

The enchantment of Tesla’s Mannequin S lies in its attractive sports-car design. If attractive is a single modifier to sports-car, do not use a comma.

Punch, mark, or fill-in your poll!   A comma joins objects in a row (similar phrase types) — on this case three verbs.  Utilizing a comma earlier than or is non-compulsory.) 

I want to thank my brothers, Sarah, and Mary. (4 or mrore individuals: # brothers and Sarah and Mary) 

On the tray had been bacon and eggs, salt and pepper, and cookies and milk.

See Inseparable Pairs  (salt and pepper, ham and eggs, cookies and milk)

Bob Dylan’s musical kinds embrace folks, rock and roll, [and] rhythm and blues, nation, and gospel.

Separate the genres (kinds with commas to keep away from confusion.

*not used / ~marginal use, requires a particular context to be understood

What are the 8 Commas Guidelines?

Whether or not it comes earlier than and or elsewhere in a sentence, following fundamental comma guidelines could make utilizing this misunderstood punctuation mark a breeze. In a nutshell, we use commas to:

  • listing objects,
  • separate adjectives,
  • be part of impartial clauses,
  • offset introductory and nonessential phrases,
  • introduce quotations, and
  • preserve circulate.

Whew! Take a breath. Let’s take a more in-depth have a look at every of those guidelines.

Rule 1: Use a Comma in a Sequence or Checklist

When creating a listing of three or extra easy phrases, objects, or ideas, use a comma to separate every phrase or phrase group.

She made a casserole out of hen, pasta, and leftover broccoli.

Word: Utilizing a comma after the next-to-last merchandise in a listing is a stylistic alternative and will rely upon the type information you’re following.

Rule 2: Separate Adjectives With a Comma

Once you use a couple of adjective to switch a noun or pronoun, use commas to separate them. That is solely true if the adjectives’ order is interchangeable.

She had a cheerful, wholesome child.

Word: This might simply learn: She had a wholesome, glad child.

Rule 3: Use a Comma When Becoming a member of Two Unbiased Clauses

When a conjunction (for instance: and, or, and however) hyperlinks two impartial clauses, it is advisable to put a comma earlier than the conjunction.

He walked by the constructing, however he didn’t activate any lights.

Word: An impartial clause will need to have a topic and verb. It ought to categorical an entire thought.
A comma splice happens when two impartial clauses are joined collectively utilizing solely a comma.

Rule 4: If a Sentence Begins With a Dependent Clause, Use a Comma After It

If a sentence begins with an introductory phrase or dependent clause, it ought to have a comma instantly after it.

When you’re going to the shop, decide me up a gallon of milk.

Rule 5: Offset Nonessential Phrases, Phrases, or Clauses With Commas

If a sentence accommodates nonessential phrases, phrases, or clauses, use commas to set them aside. These nonessential sections usually start with phrases equivalent to who or which. They might be faraway from a sentence with out altering its which means.

Adam, who had liked Marybeth since he was in elementary faculty, knew it was time to let her go.

Rule 6: Commas Introduce Direct Quotations

Direct quotations, equivalent to dialogue, ought to be preceded by commas.

When she introduced her canine to Florida, her aunt warned, “Be careful for these poisonous cane toads!”

Commas might also be used to specific interruptions to direct quotations.

“By no means,” she responded, “would my canine go after something larger than a fly.”

Rule 7: Commas Set Off Phrases That Intervene With Sentence Circulate

Commas can be utilized to set aside phrases that interrupt the circulate of a sentence. These could embrace expressions equivalent to by the way in which, in spite of everything, and however.

That retailer clerk, by the way in which, was as soon as an government at a world financial institution.

Commas are used to set aside interrupters or phrases that interrupt the circulate of the sentence.

Rule 8: Commas Set Off Names, Nicknames, and Titles

When straight addressing an individual, use a comma to set off their identify, nickname, title, or time period of endearment.

I didn’t imply to say that, sir.

Will you, Elizabeth Pruitt, marry me?

Sleep properly, Love Bug!

When ought to I exploit a comma to separate numbers?

In English, we use commas in numbers larger than 999 to separate the quantity and make it clearer. We use a comma each third digit from the best.

Incorrect: Greater than 50000 individuals turned as much as protest. Right: Greater than 50,000 individuals turned as much as protest.

Word how a lot simpler it’s to learn. The comma each third digit is usually referred to as a “thousands-separator.” Be sure you don’t embrace an area on both aspect of this comma.

Right: We’ll stroll 10,000 miles.

Incorrect: We’ll stroll 10, 000 miles.

Incorrect: We’ll stroll 10 , 000 miles.

Incorrect: We’ll stroll 10 ,000 miles.

When a quantity makes use of a decimal level, we by no means place commas to the best of the decimal level. Some individuals like to make use of skinny areas going from left to proper as a substitute.

Right: The worth of Pi is 3.14159 to 5 decimal locations.

Right: The worth of Pi is 3.14 159 to 5 decimal locations.

Incorrect: The worth of Pi is 3.141,59 to 5 decimal locations.

Incorrect: The worth of Pi is 3.14,159 to 5 decimal locations.

Numbers that aren’t quantities, equivalent to telephone numbers, home numbers, and years don’t often have commas inside them.

It will possibly get complicated as many different international locations (equivalent to Spain) use commas in numbers as a substitute of a decimal level, e.g. 100,01 as a substitute of 100.01. In these instances, you would possibly see a interval used as a substitute of commas or an area, e.g. 1.000,01 or 1 000,01 as a substitute of 1,000.01.

What’s a comma?

The comma is a punctuation mark that signifies a pause between the phrases of a sentence.

  • Anita, Rita, and Nesbit are kicking a ball.
  • Maya wrote a ebook, which Anita then edited for her.
  • Nesbit, an entire geek, loves nothing higher than to tinker with expertise.
  • This parcel was shipped from Esperance, Australia, on Could 21, 1971.
  • Rita at all times says, “To fly is to reside.”
  • This can be vital, however it isn’t pressing, is it?

Sadly, commas are simply misused. On this article, we focus on tips on how to use the comma appropriately—when to make use of it and when to not.

Commas Earlier than And: An Overview

Commas Earlier than And are used primarily in two particular conditions:

1. Becoming a member of Unbiased Clauses With a Conjunction

An impartial clause is a phrase that expresses a complete thought. It will need to have each a topic and a verb. In different phrases, it will probably stand alone as a sentence.

A sentence can comprise two impartial clauses in the event that they’re linked by a conjunction equivalent to and, or, and however. (With out the conjunction, two impartial clauses usually type a run-on sentence). A comma is required after the ultimate phrase of the primary clause, earlier than and (or no matter conjunction you’re utilizing).

Take these two impartial clauses:

Peter usually went to sci-fi conventions.

He at all times wearing costume.

When you be part of them along with solely a comma, they type a comma splice.

Peter usually went to sci-fi conventions, he at all times wearing costume.

When you add an and after the comma, the sentence turns into grammatically right.

Peter usually went to sci-fi conventions, and he at all times wearing costume.

A sentence can comprise two impartial clauses in the event that they’re linked by a conjunction equivalent to however. With out the conjunction “however,” the 2 impartial clauses linked solely by a comma will outcome to a run-on sentence which is grammatically incorrect.

Exceptions to the rule:

If the 2 impartial clauses are brief and have a powerful connection, then the comma ought to be omitted. Though it’s not technically incorrect to incorporate it, you threat having a uneven sentence.

Peter wrote and Jonathan illustrated.

2. Earlier than the Subsequent-To-Final Merchandise in a Checklist

Commas are virtually at all times used to separate objects in a listing or collection that accommodates three or extra issues. Extra particularly, some lists comprise a comma that’s referred to as the Oxford comma. This punctuation sits instantly after the listing’s next-to-last merchandise, simply earlier than the and or the or.

Animal-loving Judy at all times had a home full of canine, cats, birds, and hamsters.

Within the instance above, the serial comma is the one which separates birds from the and.

Exceptions to the Rule: In easy lists, a comma earlier than and isn’t at all times crucial and doesn’t truly improve a sentence. Generally, the omission of this serial comma is even advisable.

In reality, the Oxford comma is a hotly debated level in fashionable grammar, and in the end, it comes right down to a stylistic alternative.

Carol likes to combine peas, corn, and carrots.

Carol likes to combine peas, corn and carrots.

Sure type guides, such because the AP Stylebook, don’t advocate utilizing this serial comma until it’s completely crucial for preserving a sentence’s which means.

Some Actual-Life Examples

  • A bit canine can begin a hare, however it takes a giant one to catch it.  Basically my wife was immature. I'd be at home in
  • Mainly my spouse was immature. I might be at house in my bathtub, and she’d are available and sink my boats.  The play was a great success, but  the audience w (Actor Woody Allen)
  • The play was a terrific success, however the viewers was a catastrophe.  We make a living by what we get, but  we make a l (Playwright Oscar Wilde)
  • We make a dwelling by what we get, however we make a life by what we give. (British Prime Minister Winston Churchill)
  • Drink is the curse of the land. It makes you struggle along with your neighbor. It makes you shoot at your landlord and it makes you miss him. (Properly-cited Irish citation by anon)
  • (“It makes you shoot at your landlord” and “It makes you miss him” are impartial clauses. Due to this fact, a comma required earlier than “and.”)

A Extra Difficult Instance

  • Candidates should be capable to inform jokes and sing, and they have to be capable to dance.
  • (NB: The primary “and” is only a conjunction in a listing.)
Candidates should be capable to inform jokes and sing, andthey should be capable to dance.


Omitting Repeated Phrases (Ellipsis)


To keep away from repetition, we generally omit articles, quantifiers, auxiliaries in a collection if they’re complemented by the identical component (noun, verb, prepositions, articles)  We embrace such objects in a collection for emphasis (anaphora).


The runner can, should and will run within the race.  (shorter)  

The runner can run, should run and will run within the race. (emphasis)


Folks with Diabetes ought to devour much less sugar, starch, and alcohol.


He purchased a pair of footwear, shorts, and socks(all are available pairs) 

He purchased a shirt, hat, and map.   


They turned conscious and took cost of constructing safeguards for athletes. 


We don’t omit articles, quantifiers, auxiliaries, or prepositions in a collection if they’re complemented by completely different component varieties (rely/noncount nouns, verb types, verb phrases, articles and so on.)                                                                                      


*The runner has, should and will run the race. (combined sort)

The runner has run, should run, and can run within the upcoming marathon race.      


*Folks with Diabetes ought to devour much less sugar, starch, and sugary carbonated drinks.

Folks ought to devour much less sugar,  fewer sweets, and fewer sugary carbonated drinks. 


~He purchased a hat, shirt, and pants. (some pants)     

He purchased a hat, a shirt and some pants


*They took curiosity, cost and succeeded in constructing safeguards for athletes. 

They took an interest in, took cost of, and succeeded in constructing safeguards for athletes.    

*not used / ~sounds awkward, not most popular wording

ellipsis – the omission of phrases to keep away from repetition

anaphora (epanaphora) – the repetition of the identical phrase or group of phrases firstly of a number of consecutive sentences or verses to emphasise a picture or an idea.

safegurards (N) – authorized protections

Ellipsis in a SeriesPop-Q "Ellipsis in a Series", Pop-Q "List".

“And” on the finish of a listing – English lecturers say no comma!

Let’s begin issues off with a listing.

When this listing consists of simply two objects, you wouldn’t ever have to put a comma earlier than the “and”. No Brit would ever say “Fish and, chips”, we simply say “Fish and Chips”. However what about when this listing consists of a couple of merchandise.

Most English lecturers will inform us that you just shouldn’t put a comma earlier than “and” on the finish of an extended listing. They may inform you off in the event you write, “I acquired eggs, milk, and bacon”.

And simply to be clear, lists may also consist of phrases in addition to phrases.

“I went purchasing, walked the canine, and took out the bins” is equally incorrect- in accordance with English lecturers.

The Oxford Comma debate

Nonetheless, language modifications and evolves on a regular basis, and there’s now a legitimate argument for utilizing the “oxford comma”.

Let’s say you’re describing your loved ones, and also you say…

“In my household, there are my mother and father, my brother, and my sister”. So far, that appears like an everyday listing, however after we drop the comma…

“In my household, there are my mother and father, my brother and my sister”. It now appears as if the objects listed after the comma are examples of the speaker’s mother and father. Which means that he’s a results of sibling incest.

Examples of “And” and the tip of a listing

Take a look at these lists, half with, half with out the oxford comma. I’ll allow you to determine whether or not it ought to stay.


“Apples, oranges, and pears”.

“I’ve cooked dinner, carried out the washing up, and ate a pie”.

“I’ve a head, two legs, a coronary heart, 3 lungs, and a beard”.

“You’ve saved the fortress, rescued the princess, and slain the dragon!”

With out

“Three, 4 and 5”.

“To outlive, you want water, oxygen and love”.

“Wash your arms, preserve six metres aside and don’t contact your face”.

“My favorite rulers are Henry VII, Julias Caesar and Batman”.

Did You Know? Did You Know?

Whom can’t at all times change who, however who can at all times change whom.Know extra:Who vs. Whom: How to Use Correctly