“I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out.”

~Oscar Wilde

Commas are possibly the most confusing punctuation. Sometimes even English teachers are confused by them, which has led to the “shortcut” approach of telling students this myth: “Put a comma where you feel the need for a pause.”

No, no, no! A pause can mean all kinds of things, and sticking a comma in every pause will lead to trouble. Instead, it’s better to learn the four main uses for commas:

The pages above tackle them one at a time, and by the end you won’t have to guess about commas any more.

In addition, you can print your own Comma Chart as a reference to help keep them straight:


comma-chart (PDF format)



    1. Thank you! So interesting to read the origin of a quote when it’s often hard to track them down. I’ve added a link at the top of the page so others can read the back story as well.


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