Commas: They're Not Just For English Majors Anymore.
Along with periods, commas are the most commonly used punctuation in standard written English. Yet they are also the most misused. The reasons for this are many, but come down to two:
1) The first is the misconception that the only reason we use commas is to signal the reader to pause.

2) Second is the idea that there are something like 383 rules governing commas, each more arbitrary than the next. There's no point in trying to master them all, so refer to rule #1.

The point of this site is to help you remember one thing: commas are a tool you can use to help your reader understand what you've written.

How many comma rules are there?  Who cares?  The real question is, When and how should we use commas to make our meaning clear?

There are about five situations in which you almost always need a comma. These situations account for 85% of the comma errors in student papers.  That means if you nail down these five, and add them to what you probably already know about using commas, you should be able to avoid most common errors.

get started

Intro, Get Started, IE, CE, 2IC, FANBOYS, CA, NRE, Review

IE: Introductory Elements

CE: Contrasting Elements

2IC: Two Independent Clauses

CA: Compound or Coordinate Adjectives

NRE: Non-Restrictive Elements

A Few Other Situations (quotations, lists, etc.)