An independent clause is a complete thought that can stand alone. It contains a subject and a verb.
- Commas may separate independent clauses joined by coordinate conjunctions.
Moussa wanted to leave the class early, but his teacher told him that he had to wait.
- When the independent clauses are short and closely related, the comma may be omitted.
Moussa is eating an apple and Ernesto is eating a pear.
- Do not use a comma to separate independent clauses without a coordinate conjunction.
Wrong Moussa wanted to leave the class early, however, his teacher told him that he had to wait.
Either Moussa wanted to leave the class early; however, his teacher told him that he had to wait.
Or Moussa wanted to leave the class early, but his teacher told him that he had to wait.
- Do not separate compound predicates with a comma.
Wrong Moussa ran a mile, and lifted weights.
Correct Moussa ran a mile and lifted weights.
Jack went to the store and bought chicken, nuts, cereal, and candy.
While she was riding her bike to school, Jessie crashed.
- The comma is optional after a short introductory adverbial phrase unless the comma is required for clarity.
Either Last year, Nomen Global students went white water rafting.
Or Last year Nomen Global students went white water rafting.
Wrong Soon after Nomen Global students went to Disneyland.
Better Soon after, Nomen Global students went to Disneyland.
- Commas separate coordinate adjectives. To determine whether adjectives are coordinate, try inserting the word “and” between the adjectives.
This tricky, little punctuation mark can be deceptive.This tricky and little punctuation mark can be deceptive.
Both “tricky” and “little” independently modify “punctuation mark”.
Compare these coordinate adjectives with non-coordinate adjectives.
I appreciate well-prepared Italian food.“Well-prepared” modifies the whole phrase “Italian food”.
- Separate a direct quotation or question from the rest of the sentence with a comma.
Olivia said, “Please wash the dishes.”
- Do not use a comma to separate the sentence with an indirect quotation.
Olivia said that the dishes need to be washed.
- The word “or” often precedes nonrestrictive appositives. The appositional “or” always requires enclosure.
The independent clause, or main clause, must have both a subject and a verb.
This photograph was taken on January 14, 1956.
- Geographical names and addresses
Garrett was born in Los Angeles, California, while Gordon was born in Provo, Utah.
There were 37,000 people in attendance at last night’s concert.