This article is meant to teach the usage of COMMA to all IELTS and PTE students while making them grin, if not laugh, a bit. Here we go.
This picture is indeed worth more than a thousand words. “I’m sorry I love you” will land you in a divorce, while “I’m sorry, I love you” has potential to make your life easier.
Punctuation marks such as a comma or a period (a full stop), play a crucial role in written communication. IELTS, PTE, GRE, as well as GMAT, give enough importance to their usage. But where do we use a comma?
RULE 1: A comma should be used to separate three or more items.
“IELTS exam contains reading, listening, speaking, and writing module.”
Simple. However, some writers suggest using a comma before ‘and’. This is called an Oxford Comma. Its purpose is to prevent any misunderstanding. For instance:
“I watched a movie, ate fish and bread, and came home.”
The purpose of an Oxford comma is to show that fish and bread are one unit and they need to be separated from the process of coming home.
RULE 2: A comma is necessary in the case of dependent clauses. That is, those parts of the sentence that can not stand by themselves. I prefer calling them MODIFIERS because they modify a noun/ subject.
“Having landed at the JFK airport, I decided to take a quick tour of the New YorK city.”
“The bill, which makes drinking alcohol a punishable offense, was passed in the lower house yesterday.”
The underlined parts of the sentence are modifiers that give us additional information about subjects “I” and “bill”. The modifiers are separated from the main clause by a comma so that the sentence still makes complete sense without that additional information. For instance, “I decided to take a quick tour of the New Your city” and “The bill was passed in the lower house yesterday” are complete sentences. Modifiers give extra information. Another such sentence:
“Bill, who is my brother, cooked food for me.”
“New Delhi, which is densely populated, is experiencing massive traffic jams.”
I’m sure you loved reading this article and learned a few things. If you’ve got any doubts, please let me know in the comments section.
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Here are some funny pictures presenting a change in meaning if a comma is omitted.
Are North Americans (US and Canada residents) eating more than 400 Africans every year? Well, the picture says so.
Are you suggesting hunters should shoot the pedestrians? Well, the omission of a comma has changed the meaning. Isn’t it?