Posted by: episystechpubs | February 7, 2014

Editor’s Corner: Comma Pairs

Happy Friday! Donna will be giving you a break from commas during the beginning of next week, so here is a dose to last you for a few days.

RULE: Use a pair of commas in the middle of a sentence to set off clauses, phrases, and words that are not essential to the meaning of the sentence. Use one comma before to indicate the beginning of the pause and one at the end to indicate the end of the pause.

Here are some clues to help you decide whether the sentence element is essential:

· If you leave out the clause, phrase, or word, does the sentence still make sense?

· Does the clause, phrase, or word interrupt the flow of words in the original sentence?

· If you move the element to a different position in the sentence, does the sentence still make sense?

If you answer "yes" to one or more of these questions, then the element in question is nonessential and should be set off with commas.

Examples of commas with non-essential elements:

Clause: On Saturday, which happens to be National Kiwi Day, we are going to Belmont Park.

Phrase: When I’m in San Francisco, I love walking through the arboretum in Golden Gate Park. The Japanese Tea Garden, in addition, is a splendid place to spend the afternoon.

Word: You got to choose the restaurant last time. This time, therefore, Donny gets to choose the place we go for dinner.

And a little (missing) comma humor to start your weekend right. I think the magazine editor got so excited with the clever take on Eat, Pray, Love that he or she forgot the commas in the remainder of the text.

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor


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