BIGGEST Comma Mistake

by | Jun 7, 2016 | ACT, ACT English, Grammar

There’s a vicious rumor going around high schools around the country. It’s caused more tears and destroyed more dreams than you can imagine.

This rumor: you put commas in a sentence where you pause when you read it.

Don’t be a victim of the biggest comma mistake students make on the ACT.

Know your stuff and get your top score.

There are 10 comma rules to know for the ACT.

  1. Use to separate independent clauses with a coordinating conjunction.
  2. Use to set off introductory interjections, connecting words, dependent clauses, and phrases (that start an IC/sentence).
  3. Use to set off parenthetical phrases/connecting words, non-restrictive clauses, and non-restrictive phrases within a clause using a pair of commas or at the end of clause with simply a comma.
  4. Use to separate 3 or more items in a series. No, you can’t leave out the Oxford/serial comma (the one that comes before the conjunction) in formal writing.
  5. Use to separate adjectives of equal weight.
  6. Use to separate lines within and at the end of a mailing addresses and after dates that include month, day, and year.
  7. Use rarely to resolve ambiguity.
  8. DON’T use commas with intensive and reflexive pronouns.
  9. NEVER use ONE comma to separate the noun subject and the verb (except in a weird construction where you have adjectives of equal weight modifying a noun in a restrictive phrase that modifies and follows the noun phrase subject. Sound complicated? Yeah, it’s never been on an ACT, but The director of the intense, inspiring documentary spoke to our class on Tuesday. is an example).
  10. Never use a comma just because you’d pause when you read the sentence.

Need to know more?

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There are 10 comma rules. Do you know them?

Punctuation Usage in English

The vast majority of punctuation in English is used to separate different units of grammar, so the reader can translate the written form into the spoken word in their heads. When we understand this concept, we quit using so many commas in the wrong places and start using them only where they’re needed.

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