Commas: Do You Know Their Importance?
In spite of the difficulty level involved, commas have an extremely important place in written English. Just for starters, they help us communicate much better in written forms of communication. Consider the following examples where the strangest of situations arose because a comma was not properly used in the sentence. Eventually, and more especially in academic writing than anything else, this ends up creating a situation where the student can be sure that they will lose marks and their paper, as a whole, will lose its value in front of the teachers.
Incorrect version: I saw a cow eating grass.
Correct version: I saw a cow, eating grass.
Incorrect version: Rachel likes cooking her dog and family.
Correct version: Rachel likes cooking, her dog, and her family.
Incorrect version: When I went running I saw a duck.
Correct version: When I went running, I saw a duck.
We are all already aware that your teachers are not the easiest people to get along with. Consider placing any one of the incorrect versions of any of these sentences in front of them. No matter the level of incongruity shown here, you are almost certain to get very bad remarks for any work that could be done in such a careless manner. This is why you need to understand just how you must use commas properly to get the most out of all the writing that you end up doing.
Back To Basics: Understanding The Insignificant Comma
Most students may feel that the comma is too small and insignificant a punctuation mark to bother too much about. That’s not true however, and as a student, the best you could do is never forget the following, simple rules:
Commas should be placed when quoting someone
Example: The hiker said, “I saw a kangaroo”
“I saw a kangaroo,” the hiker said.
Depending on where the quote as well as the person to whom the quote is attributed, are placed in a sentence, commas must be placed, before or after the quote. In the first example, the attribution is placed before the quote so the comma will be placed before the quote also. In the second example, the attribution comes at the end of the sentence, so the comma will be placed after the quote also.
Commas are essential if the first word in the sentence is freestanding
Example: Yes, it is true I went out for a drink
Example: No, I did not drink enough to become drunk!
Again, the comma here comes directly after the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and helps to separate the freestanding word from the rest of the sentence.
Commas should be part of any sentence that directly addresses an individual
Example: Susan, is that task completed yet?
Self-explanatory in itself, this comma explains how when addressing one or more individuals directly, commas must be used as part of the sentence to ensure that the meaning of the phrases being spoken remain clear.
Of course, there are many more rules to keep in mind when using commas in academic writing. It can get difficult, keeping all of them in mind at the same time, so maybe, getting help from British Essays Help would be a great idea here!