The Comma The comma is, of course, a very common mark of punctuation in our language- so it's also often misused. Here are four simple rules that will help you use the comma correctly in most situations: 1. Use a comma after most introductory elements- after words, phrases, and dependent clauses • Whenever there are storms in the winter, beaches usually erode. • After winter storms, beaches usually erode. • Furthermore, beaches sometimes erode during summer storms. You don't always need to put a comma after introductory elements. For short introductory elements, use a comma only if you think the reader needs a pause. For example, the comma in this next sentence is optional: • Sometimes, beaches erode during the summer. A caution: don't think of the words "and" and "but" as introductory elements - they normally don't have commas after them: • WRONG: But, beaches sometimes expand in the summer. • RIGHT: But beaches sometimes expand in the summer.
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