Reaching fluency in the English language means more than just being able to communicate with native speakers or to replicate various English accents. It means understanding the small intricacies and less known about rules and applying them at all time. Punctuation is often enough the main part of the learning process that causes good students to fail because they think it is something that comes natural, or that works by rules that apply in their native language as well.

While Funny At Times, Bad Punctuation Is Not Acceptable For English Proficiency

This can lead to some monumental mistakes and even cause any number of embarrassing situations if the comma is placed in wrongly. The internet is filled with humorous examples of phrases that sound ridiculous or even insulting because of a misplaced or forgotten comma.

Naturally all punctuation signs are important and should be used correctly at all times, however the comma is a bit special due to the numerous ways in which you can get it wrong. A lot of students don’t forget to place of comma, but rather include too many of them or place them where they are not needed, making their writing hard to read and often enough confusing.

In this article we will explore some of the most common situations in which English students misuse the comma with some examples to make things that much clearer. We’ll start with one of the most popular which is:

Separating A Verb From The Subject

One of the first things you will ever learn in any English class is never to separate the verb from its subject in any sentence or phrase.

Incorrect use: The best thing a writer can be, is grammatically correct.

Correct use: The best thing a writer can be is grammatically correct.

Using A Comma In Front Of That

While even some native people fall for this mistake make sure you remember never to use a comma before “that.”

Incorrect use: The cakes, that stood on the counter, made the pastry shop look beautiful.

Correct use: The cakes that stood on the counter made the pastry shop look beautiful.

Separate Verbs

Sometimes a sentence can contain more than one verb. In this case the comma should never be used to separate verbs that belong to the same subject.

Incorrect use: Jake talked to his sister, and cooked a meal at the same time.

Correct use: Jake talked to his sister and cooked a meal at the same time.

There are numerous other examples of classic comma related mistakes and numerous resources from where you can learn all comma and punctuation related rules for free at your local library or online. The main thing to remember is not to ignore punctuation, as speaking the language perfectly is only part of the entire English learning process. You should also remember that there is no shortcut when it comes to learning punctuation. You will have to read, retain and exercise all the rules and exceptions and make sure you use them at all times while writing in the English language.

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