Tuesday, October 20, 2009


When you catch an adjective, kill it.
--Mark Twain.


  1. Use a comma when your sentence starts with a subordinate clause, which is a clause that cannot stand on its own as a sentence.

    a. As you know, Gregg moved to Cleveland.
    b. "Aside from the ending, what did you think of the movie?"

  2. Use a comma to separate two clauses joined by a conjunction.

    a. Martin took the afternoon off to go fishing, and he didn't feel the least bit guilty.
    b. "I may have robbed the gas station, but I didn't kill nobody," Bobby said.

  3. Use a comma to separate lists or series.

    a. Theresa, Mary, and Kathleen waited outside the church for Peter to arrive.
    b. We gave Paul a baseball, a bat, and a catcher's mitt for his birthday.

  4. Use a comma to introduce a pause during a direct quotation.

    a. "Maybe," Jane said, "but I don't think so."
    b. "I'm ready to go whenever you are," Micki said.


  • Christie Craig and Faye Hughes, The Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel;
  • Karen Elizabeth Gordon, The New Well-Tempered Sentence;
  • William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style.