Professor Tashman

Unneccessary Commas

Don’t use commas between non-independent clauses

Wrong:

Dax staggered around the drunken bodies on the living room floor, and found himself alone beneath the mistletoe.

Correct:

Dax staggered around the drunken bodies on the living room floor and found himself alone beneath the mistletoe.

Or

Dax staggered around the drunken bodies on the living room floor, and he found himself alone beneath the mistletoe.

Don’t insert commas after phrases that begin inverted sentences:

Under the squeaking bed lay Rocko, waiting for a chance to sneak out.

Do not use a comma before the first or after the last item in a series.

Her cheating, her breath, her rudeness, and her drug abuse wee my main reasons for breaking up with Arlene.

I was amazed that my attempts to be suave, urbane, fashionable, and hip had zero effect on Zelda.

Between an adjective and a noun, between an adverb and an adjective, or between cumulative adjectives, do not use a comma.

Do not insert a comma between an adverb and an adjective:

Her shockingly demented gyrations made Harold pause for a second before popping the ecstasy.

Do not insert a comma between an adjective and a noun.

She sat on a folding chair across the room, her dangerous, round eyes staring at my neon belt buckle as if it were a thing of rare beauty.

Do not insert commas between cumulative adjectives.

The old folding chair in which he sat, silently staring at my knife, had been in that yellow wall-papered room since 1963, about the time I was graduating fifth grade.

Do not separate a verb from its subject or object with a comma.

Custom-made bags roomy enough to hold her syringes and feminine hygiene paraphernalia and fudge brownies were no longer for sale at Barneys or Bergdorf.

The subject bags takes the verb were. Although the phrase roomy enough to hold her syringes and feminine hygiene paraphernalia and fudge brownies separates subject and verb, no commas are inserted.

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