Basic Comma Rules
7th Grade
Language Arts Class
1. Commas are used to separate
words, phrases, or clauses in a
series.
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Mr. Jensen wanted us to bring apples, milk,
and bread. (words)
Rehearsal will be held before school, during
recess, and after school. (phrases)
The supervisor wanted to know who had
broken into the store, why they had done so,
and what had been taken. (clauses)
2. A comma is used after an
introductory clause (a clause at
the beginning of the sentence
that could not stand alone. It is
dependant on the rest of the
sentence to make sense.)
After this PowerPoint is over,
you’ll practice commas in your
groups.

Many dependent clauses will begin
with a subordinate conjunction
such as after, although, as, as if,
because, before, if, since, unless,
until, when, whenever, while, etc.
If the dependent clause follows the
independent clause, then a comma
is not needed between the two
clauses.
If their papers have improved,
we will raise their scores.
 We will raise their scores if
their papers have improved.
 As you can see, I have a very
graceful cat.
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3. A comma is used to set off
introductory words, introductory
phrases, and introductory
prepositional phrases(4+ words or
more). All of these introductory
elements can simply be
considered dependent and,
therefore, a comma follows.
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Incidentally, I was not late this
morning.
Hoping that she had enough money
to buy the sweater, she approached
the register.
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On top of the shelf, you’ll find a
book.
However, I’m not sure if it’s yours.
4. A comma is used in a long
compound sentence between
independent clauses joined by one
of the fanboys.
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
He likes math, but he doesn’t do very
well.
She was tired, yet I’ve never seen her
work harder.
Note: Do NOT put a comma before the
coordinating conjunction if there is not a
complete sentence on both sides..
5. Parenthetical statements (words,
phrases, or clauses) are set off by
commas. They include words of direct
address.
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The quality of the material, however,
was beyond question.
Mr. Saul is, I think, the smartest
man I know.
The check, Mr. Lee, is in the mail.
6. Two adjectives describing the
same noun should be separated by a
comma if the word and could be
used between the two adjectives or
if they are reversible.

His arrogant, condescending manner
annoyed everyone.
The following sentence does not contain a
comma because the car is not green and
dark, but rather dark green.
* Everyone envied her dark green car.
7. A nonessential phrase or
clause is set off by commas. An
essential phrase or clause is
NOT set off by commas.
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The speaker, realizing his mistake,
apologized to the chairman.
(nonessential)
The girl who sits at the back of the room
is very bright. (essential)
8. An appositive (a word or phrase
that renames the noun) is set off by
commas.
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Nick Van Excel, a player for the
Lakers, is a valuable player.
The award was given to Jan, Carol’s
daughter.
9. Use a comma when it is necessary
to make the meaning of a sentence
clear.

Ever since, our supplies have been
stored in a warehouse.
10. Items in address and dates are
set off by commas.
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We moved here from Atlanta,
Georgia, three months ago.
Mrs. Bitters, the next meeting will be
held on Tuesday, August 13, 2003, in
Seattle.
Note: Do not put a comma
between the month and year!
* July 2003
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Basic Comma Rules - Greeneville City Schools