Why, Commas Really DO Matter!

Why, Commas Really DO
A Little Comma Humor for You…
 A panda, carrying a bow and arrow, walks into the Trinity
Middle School library…
He eats a sandwich, then draws his bow and shoots two arrows.
“Why did you do that?” Ms. Sanker nervously asks as the
panda walks toward the Red/Green Pod exit.
The panda tosses Ms. Sanker a badly punctuated book. “I’m
a panda,” he says, “That’s what it says we do.”
The panda leaves and Ms. Sanker, puzzled, opens to the
first page of the book. It reads…
Large black-and-white mammal, native
to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.
Just Ask Your Grandma…
 Let’s eat grandma!
Whoa! What does this sentence say???
What does it mean to say?
 See? Commas really DO save lives!
Comma Rule #1
 Use Commas to Separate Items in a Series
A series is a group of three or more items in a row. Types of
items in a series include…
Words in a Series
Phrases in a Series
Clauses in a Series
Words in a Series
 Example
 Ms.
Wherry, Ms. Birch, and Ms.
Beck are seventh-grade English teachers
at Trinity Middle School.
 Use a comma to separate two or more adjectives!
 The
cold, crisp air made the night
perfect for trick-or-treating.
Phrases in a Series
 Example
go skydiving, to visit Ireland,
and to meet someone famous are
all things on Ms. Wherry’s bucket list.
Clauses in a Series
 Example
attention, study hard, and
complete your homework so that
you can ace your comma usage test!
A General Rule of Thumb…
 (The number of items you have in your series)-1= The
number of commas that should appear in your sentence!
 If you only have two items in your series, you do not need
a comma!
Example: You will need a pencil and plenty of paper.
 OR…
 If all of the words in your series are joined by and or or,
you do not need commas to separate them.
Example: Ms. Wherry likes apples and bananas and strawberries but
does not like oranges.
A Word About Semi-Colons
 Commas separate clauses in a series.
 BUT…
 If you have a series of long, independent clauses, separate
these clauses using a semi-colon
Example: Yawning, my dog Zoey laid down on the couch; I, who
had just finished reading a book, turned on the television; and my
younger brother, Paul, worked diligently on his homework.
Let’s Practice!
 Exercise 3, pg. 337
Cincinnati Toledo and
Dayton are four large cities in Ohio.
Let’s Practice!
 Exercise 3, pg. 337
captain entered the cockpit
checked the instruments and prepared
for takeoff.
Let’s Practice!
 Exercise 3, pg. 337
speaker took a deep breath and
read the report.
Let’s Practice!
 Exercise 3, pg. 337
neighbors searched behind the
garages in the bushes and along the
Let’s Practice!
 Exercise 3, pg. 337
can roll over walk on his hind
feet and catch a tennis ball.
Let’s Practice!
 Ghosts goblins witches and zombies
will be roaming the streets tonight,
frightening Ms. Wherry.
Let’s Practice!
 Rattling chains and misty fog and eerie
lighting are just a few classic ways to
make a house look spooky for
Let’s Practice!
 The big scary monster stalked the
smallest slowest child as he trick-ortreated in his neighborhood.
Let’s Practice!
 Halloween pencils and skull rings are
Ms. Wherry’s boo-tiful gift to you!
Commas Between Two or More Adjectives are
…Or You Would be Talking About This…
So, Commas Separate Items in a Series
 Just like this…
But When You Change the Punctuation…
 The meaning of the sentence changes!

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