Commas in a Series
It’s important to learn how to properly put commas in a series of items. Why? Commas can help clarify sentences and make them easier to read, and are especially helpful in lists. For example: “I love cooking cartoons and comics” doesn’t make sense, but “I love cooking, cartoons, and comics,” does. Still confused? Don’t worry, we’ve got worksheets, activities and more to help make understanding commas in a series easier.
When students learn to write, they can begin to convey their thoughts on paper. There is a difference, though, in simply conveying one’s thoughts, and writing in an eloquent manner. While the following sentence is grammatically correct, it appears wrong at first glance:
“My favorite foods are pizza and donuts, and hamburgers and ice cream.”
Listing the items in the series separated by multiple uses of the word “and” has a feeling of redundancy. It would read better to separate the members of the series with commas:
“My favorite foods are pizza, donuts, hamburgers, and ice cream.”
When using commas in a series, make sure your students know to use the conjunction word (“and” or “or”) before the last element of the list. Without this, the reader will not know if the list is inclusive or mutually exclusive. The conjunction must also be preceded with a comma. Otherwise, the reader won’t understand if the last item is in conjunction with the previous item. In the sentence above, without the final comma, the reader may be saying the hamburgers and ice cream together are their favorite food.
Series that use commas don’t have to be a list of items. Commas can also be used to separate phrases in a sequential listing of events. Your students can use commas to join together simple clauses to make a complex sentence
. Making use of the resources provided by Education.com may help your students understand how to use the comma to enhance their writings.