One of the
biggest punctuation issues people have in writing is using
commas. When do you use commas? When do you not? This grammar tip will focus on the main three instances
when commas aren’t allowed.
Compound Sentence Elements
commas are often used with conjunctions (words like and,
people often think commas before conjunctions should always
necessary if the conjunction is used to combine two
independent clauses or two complete sentences. The
combined sentences create a compound sentence.
Martians abducted Bob without noise, but Bob's neighbor saw
the Martians hurry Bob to the craft. (Correct)
should be omitted if the coordinating conjunction does not
link independent clauses.
The board of directors voted on the fitness work release
policy and later conducted informative sessions about the
new policy. (Correct)
the Subjects and Verbs
you should not split a subject from its verb with a comma.
man, drove the car. (Incorrect)
Amador's novel The Best Cup of Coffee, became a best
seller overnight. (Incorrect)
The subject and
verb shouldn’t be separated from each other with any kind of
punctuation, unless there is non-restrictive information in
between. So the sentences should be written as follows:
man drove the car. (Correct)
Amador's novel The Best Cup of Coffee became a best
seller overnight. (Correct)
we add extra information about the subject that isn't
necessary to the meaning of the sentence. We signal to
the reader that the information isn't necessary by using a
pair of commas to set off the extra
information that isn’t vital to the sentence.
Notice that the interrupter in the following sentence,
“a compelling and romantic story about his travels
across the world in search of love and coffee,” could be removed entirely (along
with its commas) without changing the sentence's essential
Amador's novel The Best Cup of Coffee, a compelling
and romantic story about his travels across the world in
search of love and coffee, became a best seller overnight.
commas never appear between a subject and verb, but pairs
of commas sometimes do.
commas can be used around non-restrictive information, as
explained above, they cannot be used around information
that is restrictive. Restrictive
information is information that is necessary for the
sentence to make sense. In other words, the
information cannot be separated, or cut out, from the
sentence without the losing some vital part of the meaning.
Do not put commas around restrictive information
woodpecker, in the tree outside my window, annoys me at
We need the
restrictive information (in the tree outside my window) to
make the full meaning clear--a specific woodpecker annoys me
because he makes noise outside my window at night.
woodpecker in the tree outside my window annoys me at night.