Proper Commas in a Compound Sentence



Commas are one of the most frequently used punctuation marks, primarily used to specify a pause or a break in a sentence. Not knowing how to properly use a comma can lead to many embarrassing and unintentional misunderstandings, like these pictures below.

(Sources: 1,2)

To prevent these embarrassing and unintentional mistakes, here are a few rules one should keep in mind to use commas properly! For more information on comma rules, check out the Easy Writer handbook!

Rule 1: Use a comma after an introductory event

                  Example: After the movies, we had dinner at my house.

If the introductory phrase is roughly three to four words, an introductory comma is optional, but should be added to avoid any potential confusion. Remember to use a comma after an introductory phrase in a sentence.

Rule 2: Add commas when a nonrestrictive element is being used in a sentence

  Example: Leo, the King of the Jungle, roared triumphantly.

According to the Easy Writer, a nonrestrictive element gives information not essential to the basic meaning of the sentence. So, when you add extra information that does not change the meaning of the sentence, make sure to add commas to help indicate to the reader that there is a pause in between your main clause and your nonrestrictive element. The picture on the right (see above) is a clear example of not following this rule.

Rule 3: Add commas in a compound sentence

 Example: The squirrel decided to cross the road, but changed his mind halfway across.

A compound sentence can be two or more independent clauses added together with a coordinating conjunction (such as “but,” “for,” and “and”). Use the comma before the conjunction to help the reader know that there is a break between two different statements.

One last thing about commas and I will be done, I promise. Did you know that the last comma from a list of things in a sentence actually has a special name? It is called the Oxford comma! While the Oxford comma is deemed optional and stylistic, there are cases of sentences being difficult to read without the specially named comma.


(Source 3)

Here is one example where the Oxford comma is used for clarity, not just for style. Hopefully these rules are already known to you and if not, hopefully these rules have proved some use to you. Remember your comma rules and use them wisely!

Hunters.png(Source 4)



  • Favilla, Emmy. “25 Biggest Comma Fails.”BuzzFeed. 27 Feb. 2013. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.
  • Erickerson, Christine. “16 Unfortunate Misuses of Punctuation.”Mashable. 24 Sept. 2012. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.
  • Pegoda, Andrew J. “The Oxford Comma, Plus Every Comma Rule You Need to Know.”The Oxford Comma. 24 June 2014. Web. 02 Feb. 2016.
  • Erickerson, Christine. “16 Unfortunate Misuses of Punctuation.”Mashable. 24 Sept. 2012. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.



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