Comma challenge Copy

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Short sentences, with just one or two commas, are easy to check. The comma(s) will be there for a reason. Each comma will fulfil one of the purposes of commas. If a comma has no purpose, delete it!

For sentences that have more than two commas:

  • Ask yourself whether you should create two shorter sentences out of this sentence.
  • If the sentence needs to remain this long, identify commas that are acting singly and commas that are working in pairs, and check these as below.
  • Fix as necessary.

For a single comma:

  • Look at the position of the comma.
  • Decide why it’s needed. If it’s not needed, delete it!
  • If the comma is needed, check it’s in the correct position.
  • Fix if necessary.

For a pair of commas:

  • Look at the position of the two commas.
  • Imagine deleting the words between them.
  • If the sentence still makes sense, leave them where they are.
  • If the sentence doesn’t make sense, ask yourself if you need to lose one of the commas, or move one or both of them.
  • Fix as necessary.