I decided to address some punctuation issues I am seeing more and more these days. It seem like writers have mastered the use of capital letters and periods. But I find many are not sure when to use commas or how to use them.
Ever since kindergarten, we learned that every sentence and proper noun begins with a capital letter. Also, we know that a period signifies that we have a complete sentence or a complete thought. But for some reason, we have difficulty remembering when to use commas.
*Use a comma to separate the elements in a series (three or more things), including the last two. “CJ dropped his skateboard, jumped on it, and followed his sister.”
*Use a comma + a little conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so) to connect two independent clauses, as in “CJ skated away, but in the wrong direction.”
*Use a comma to set off introductory elements, as in “Skating down Main Street, CJ suddenly realized he was headed in the wrong direction.”
*Use a comma to set off parenthetical elements, as in “The Founders Bridge, which spans the Connecticut River, is falling down.” By “parenthetical element,” we mean a part of a sentence that can be removed without changing the essential meaning of that sentence.
*Appositives are almost always treated as parenthetical elements. “Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all times, played baseball for a short while.”