Where Does The Comma Go?
A Guide For The Perplexed
||Put a comma before and after a nonessential element.
||An element can be removed without changing the basic meaning of
||Put a pair of commas around the element.
- My brother, who went to McGill, is a doctor.
- The man who is wearing the red sweater is the killer.
Examples With Logical Markers, Parenthetical Expressions, and
- It is true, therefore, that our banking system is sound.
- There's little chance, in my opinion, that war will occur.
- Your car, Mr. Smith, will be ready by 5:00.
Examples With Relative Clauses
- The whale, which is in the Vancouver Aquarium, should be released.
- Our computer, which was installed only last week, has failed.
- The child, who was here a second ago, was crying loudly.
NB: A nonessential can come at the end of a sentence.
When that happens, replace the second comma with the appropriate
Examples That Come At The End of a Sentence
- That would be nice, wouldn't it?
- The car flipped into a ditch on Sooke Road, where it was found a week later.
- Her dream of winning the marathon was not to be, alas.
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©Arnold Keller, 1996
This page updated on November 14, 1996.