To Bethany, my favorite student: This page is for you.
Mrs. Winz’s, with-a-little-help-from-Easy-Grammar, All-Purpose, Guaranteed-to-
Work-Every-Time Comma Rules.
1. Use a comma after the day and the date and the year when using all three
in a sentence.
On Tuesday morning, December 25, 2007, we celebrated Christmas.
2. Use a comma between a town and state or city and country.
Orlando, Florida London, England
3. Use a comma to set off useful, but not necessary, information.
The dog, a cocker spaniel, lives in our neighborhood.
TEST: Can you take out the information between the commas and still
maintain the meaning of the sentence? If yes, use commas.
4. Use a comma after a greeting and a closing in a letter.
Dear Students, Sincerely in Christ,
5. Place a comma after each item when there are three or more items in a
WARNING: Language changes, and this grammar rule changes with the
language. As of today, if you are taking a standardized test or writing a
paper in a school setting, please follow this rule as it is written.
However, if you are writing a story to be published in a magazine or
newspaper, don’t place a comma after the item before the conjunction.
Academic setting: We had carrots, chicken, and potatoes for dinner.
Professional setting: We had carrots , chicken and potatoes for dinner.
Follow the rule that applies to your audience.
6. Use a comma after a noun of direct address.
Samantha, please practice the piano.
Please take out the trash, Jonathan.
7. Use commas between two or more descriptive adjectives.
Mrs. G. has a charming, brilliant daughter named Sarah.
8. Punctuate direct quotes like this:
“That was a delicious dinner,” Pierre said.
“That dinner,” Pierre said, “was delicious.”
Pierre said, “That was a delicious dinner.”
“Was that a delicious dinner?” Pierre asked.
Please note the placement of commas, periods, question marks and
quotation marks. All punctuation goes inside the quotation marks.
9. If two complete sentences are separated by a conjunction, (and, or, but,
for, nor, etc.) use a comma before the conjunction.
Mrs. B. went out to dinner, and she went
shopping at the mall.
Mrs. B. went out to dinner and went
shopping at the mall.
TEST: Can both parts of the sentence stand by themselves? If yes, this
10. If a phrase ( a group of words that can’t
stand by itself) and a complete sentence
are joined together, place the comma at the end of the phrase.
When she tired of the mad pace of New York, she
moved to St. Cloud.
11. If you use an appositive, a word or phrase that explains a noun, set it off by
Carol, a seventh grader, is a student in this class.
12. If you still can’t figure out how to punctuate the
sentence, try using a period instead of commas to simplify the
sentence. Save any leftover information for the next sentence. You can
solve many punctuation puzzles this way.