Using commas

Home learning focus

Learn how to use commas.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos

  • three activities

Learn

Adding a comma can change the meaning of a sentence.

  • Let's eat Rose - we're going to eat Rose.

  • Let's eat, Rose - we're eating with Rose.

Watch this video to understand why using commas incorrectly can be dangerous!

A professional drone instructor explains why commas are important to his work.

Commas to add extra information

In longer sentences, you can use commas to separate out extra information (parenthesis) and make the sentence easier to read.

Here, commas do the same job as brackets but are used when the extra information is important to the sentence.

  • Rose (with her pink hair) is from the world of clouds.

  • Rose, the colourful unicorn, is from the world of clouds.

Commas and clauses

A clause is the building block for a sentence. Commas can be used to break up sentences that have more than one clause and make the sentence easier to read.

  • When Rose saw the rainbow, she started to fly faster.

  • Rose got used to flying in the clouds, although she still felt nervous.

Both these sentences have a subordinate clause. Subordinate clauses do not make sense on their own because they need the main part of the sentence to make sense, so they are connected with a comma.

When you don’t need a comma

If the clauses make sense on their own, you don’t need to use a comma. For example:

Rose was excited about flying. She wanted to fly to the moon.

Learn how commas can be used in different ways by watching this video.

How to use commas.

Practise

You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Test your knowledge of how to use commas by completing the quiz.

Activity 2

Watch this interesting bog snorkelling event from BBC Newsround.

Then, write individual sentences with commas to:

  • add meaning
  • add extra information (parenthesis)
  • separate a main and subordinate clause, when the sentence starts with a subordinate clause
  • separate items in a list

Examples

  • As they peered across the field, Gemma shouted, "Let's run over, Martin!"

  • Martin, who won the bog snorkelling competition last year, knew he had to belly flop and slither through the bog the fastest!

  • When the spectators watched from the above the bog, all they could see was a blurred kaleidoscope of colours sliding past them.

  • The spectators could see a humongous blur of red, blue, yellow, white, green and black!

Top tip!

Remember, if the two sentences you are trying to connect make sense on their own, use a full stop to separate them.

Activity 3

Give this fun worksheet a try to practise your use of commas.

Choose the sheet based on how confident you are:

  • ‘1 star’ = you need to practice
  • ‘2 stars’ = you feel confident
  • ‘3 stars’ = you feel very confident
Commas for clarity worksheet

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt to use commas.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you to understand more about grammar and punctuation:

There's more to learn

More lessons for Year 6 and P7
Bitesize Daily lessons
KS2 English
Primary games
Newsround
New children's books
Writing to grandparents