Commas Exercise (171)

Some general comma usage guidelines are:

1. Never separate a subject from its verb with a comma, unless another rule is called for.
2. Use commas to set off a person's name in direct address.
3. Use comma to set off phrases that express contrast.

Edit the following sentences by inserting commas as necessary.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: Be sure to vote for the Homecoming Queen based on her beauty not her charm and wit as so many did last year.
Correct : Be sure to vote for the Homecoming Queen based on her beauty, not her charm and wit as so many did last year.

A comma is necessary before notto indicate the element of contrast that follows.

2.
Original: Didn’t I tell you that Janine expressed an interest in attending the production of Hamlet?
Correct : Didn’t I tell you that Janine expressed an interest in attending the production of Hamlet?

No commas are needed as Janine is not directly addressed.

3.
Original: The circus performers on trapezes caught each other in midair.
Correct : The circus performers on trapezes caught each other in midair.

No commas are needed. A comma after trapezes would separate the subject performers on trapezes from its verb caught.

4.
Original: I hope you will pay attention Lucille to the advice your friends are giving you.
Correct : I hope you will pay attention, Lucille, to the advice your friends are giving you.

Lucille is directly addressed, so a comma is needed.

5.
Original: Money donations but not clothing and other items are needed by the Salvation Army at Christmastime.
Correct : Money donations, but not clothing and other items, are needed by the Salvation Army at Christmastime.

Commas are needed to set off the contrasting element.

Related Articles

Subscribe to our articles and exercises