How to use commas in sentences

Commas in sentences

Adding a comma can change the meaning of a sentence.

  • Let's eat Albert. = We're going to eat Albert.

  • Let's eat, Albert. = We're eating with Albert.

In a long sentence, you can use commas to separate out extra information and make the sentence easier to read. These commas do the same job as brackets but look a lot neater in your writing.

  • Albert (the alien with blue spots) is from the planet Zoink.

  • Albert, the alien with blue spots, is from the planet Zoink.

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 them easier to read.

  • When Albert saw the food, his tummy started to rumble.

  • Albert got used to the blue spots, but then they started itching.

Both these sentences have a subordinate clause. Subordinate clauses do not make sense on their own.

These clauses need the main part of the sentence to make sense, so they are connected with a comma.

The comma shows that they are closely connected to the main part of the sentence.

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

  • Albert was excited about eating. He wanted to use a knife and fork.

Punctuation, there's more to learn...