Grammar Repair Shop: When should you insist on commas? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Grammar Repair Shop: When should you insist on commas?

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in Workplace Communication

Problem: Not all words carry equal weight in a sentence, and commas help make that distinction.

Lesson: Set commas around:

• Nonessential clauses (those that don't alter the sentence meaning when omitted). Example: "Sally Soso, CEO of Widgets World-wide, joined the board of directors last month."

• Words or phrases that break up the sentence's main components: Example: "I'll offer, for example, three options."

• Parenthetical or transitional words or phrases. Example: "In fact, the marketing staff added two full-time positions."

Tip: A natural pause when you read a sentence aloud often points to where you need a comma.
Peeved by a common error? Puzzled by perplexing grammar rules? Send us an e-mail at with the subject "Grammar." Or call us at (703) 905-4850.

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