Tag Archives: writing guides

12 Major Comma Uses Explained

Commas are confusing because they are used in many ways. However, the basic principle to using commas is simple: Use commas to separate clauses and phrases within sentences that have their own meaning.

The “rules” for commas below are broadly, but not universally, accepted. However, a careful writer considers two central issues:

  • Reader understanding and
  • Consistency.

The comma guidelines below will help readers understand your message in many cases. However, even if they are not necessary to improve reader understanding, follow them for consistency. Consistency is a characteristic of professional technical writing.

1. Series

The commas help the reader find each unique item (or group of items) in a series by separating them.

Example: School officials are dismayed by poor grades, low attendance, and high drug use.

2. Joining Sentences

You can join two complete sentences with coordinating conjunctions. (The entire set of coordinating conjunctions is for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. Together, these create the acronym FANBOYS.) The comma lets the reader know when one point is complete and the next will begin. This comma use only applies when you have complete sentences on either side of the conjunction.

Example: The screen inverter stopped working, and the motherboard began to smoke.

3. Introductory Descriptions

An introductory description is before the subject and describes the main verb in some way, such as when, where, how, and why. The comma at the end of the description signals the reader that the main point of the sentence is about to begin. For consistency, do this with even short introductory descriptions. In the following example, the introductory description is underlined.

Example: Following the symposium, participants collaborated on projects. Continue reading


Filed under Editing, Writing

Library Book Talk a Fun Success

Precise Edit's Alina Padilla giving away a copy of "300 Days of Better Writing."

We gave our second library book talk, “Writing that Hits Your Target,” at the Tony Hillerman Library in Albuquerque on Saturday, March 9th. Like the first book talk in Santa Fe (the La Farge Library), it was a success!

The presentation was short, but full of useful information for all writers. We also answered questions about the editing process. 

The presentation addressed five major writing concepts from 300 Days of Better Writing:

  • Rhetorical/grammatical subject;
  • Subject, verb, and object;
  • Sentence and paragraph transitions;
  • 1 idea per paragraph; and
  • Writing simply. 

We also gave away a book to one lucky recipient. 

We look forward to more successful library book talks in the future. We also look forward to teaching more on-line courses of “Top Five Writing Strategies,” which cover the same major topics. 

We would like to thank the staff at Tony Hillerman for helping make our book talk a success. 

For more information on our writing guides visit PreciseEdit.com.

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Filed under Writing