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How To Properly Use A Comma

The comma, like teenagers, are always misplaced. Today we will explain several ways to properly use a comma includes: making a list, setting off nonessential items, to set off parenthetical information, joining independent clauses with the word and, of course, the infamous oxford comma.

The Oxford Comma

The Oxford comma is used as the last comma in a list. However, it is not necessary, and it is a stylistic choice.


Bring me cups, water, and a box of brownies.

I want apples, strawberries, and some kiwis.

I would like to buy books, notebooks, and pens.

I wanna visit Kauai, Honolulu, and Maui.

Depending on the professor, it may be a good idea to use the Oxford comma because stylistically, it is a good way to separate items. (Although it is completely up to you to use it however you’d like.) In a list, the oxford comma will always come before the word “and” in a list of items.


Commas are used to set off items in a list. If not, it just tends to look messy and unorganized.


Remember smoking, drinking, and improper health will affect how the child will develop.

Childish Gambino, Tyler the Creator, and Beyonce are all great artists.

Pink, White, and Blue are all complementary colors.

Nonessential Elements

Nonessential elements are words and phrases that add information of clarify but that you should be able to delete and the sentence would still make sense. ( Information describing the subject is considered nonessential, you just need the basics of a sentence. )


French, a language originating from Latin, is spoken in Canada.

The cat, which had been meowing all morning, was finally let inside.

The underlined parts in the sentence are the parts that you can remove, and the sentence will still make sense.

Setting Off Parenthetical Information

When setting off parenthetical information, a comma is used to set the flow of the sentence, otherwise it doesn’t quite look normal. ( Parenthetical information is information that can be removed from the sentence, and it would still make sense. )


My humor, which has been censored in these examples, is greatly misunderstood.

Ethan, who’s humor was too dark, had to be shut down and edited for several reasons.

Even though I was censored, and had my sentences changed, my humor was not that dark.

To Set off Direct Address, Yes or No, Interjections, and Tag Questions

Direct Address: When you are directing a message through the sentence to a certain person using their name, nickname, or pronoun.

Nami, what are you doing?

Ethan, are you busy?

Reysa, can you get this for me?

Yes or No: When directly addressing a yes or no answer,followed by an explanation.

Yes, Bob, California is the sunshine state.

No, you do owe me for breaking my window.

Interjection: Using a nonsensical comment to interrupt in a sentence, usually used to show emotion.

No, you said I would conducting this interview when I walked in, Now how much pot did you smoke?

Yes, haven’t I told you the good news?


Tag Question: When using a question to change a statement in to an interrogating fragment.

That wasn’t so bad, now was it? Also, that’s what she said.

What, are you being chicken for not wanting to cross the road?

With Address, Place Names, and Dates

When it comes to any address, place, or a date, the proper places to put a comma are after the city/state name and dates that include day/month/year.


Dump the body at the warehouse, 1640 Rhode Island Ave., Washington, DC 20036.

Manila, Philippines, is famous for its lousy traffic and horrific car accidents.

Adolf Hitler supposedly committed suicide on April 30, 1945, leading to the ending ofWorld War 2.

Checking for unnecessary commas

There are several uses for a comma, so it is very easy to misuse them.

A WRONG way to use a comma, for example:

The people who organized Coachella did not consider, the traffic.

When using, this application it kept shutting down on me!

The reason for this being incorrect is because it is between a subject and a verb.

A comma should NEVER be put between these instances:

Between a subject and a verb

Example: Amanda, was running to her destination.

Ethan, ran to his job.

Josue was dying, to see his favorite band.

Between a verb and its object or complement

Example: John went, to go buy stuff at the store.

Reysa ran, away from her responsibilities.

Ethan invaded, North Korea.

After a coordinating conjunction

Example: Soup and, pasta are delicious dishes.

My cat refuses to eat dry food but, will eat squid.

Amanda and, Sheldon will be dying to see this!

After like or such as

Example: Things like, turtles are hard to take care of.

There are better examples, such as, this.

Bob like, totally messed this whole presentation up.

After a question mark or an exclamation point

Example: Who are you?, a stranger?

What!, are you tripping?

Can you relax?, just a little?