Commas, Ellipsis, & Dashes {{ currentPage ? currentPage.title : "" }}

Commas- A comma is used in a sentence to separate a word or a group of words in order to improve the flow of a sentence or to give readers a pause while reading.

There are a total of eight rules that exist when using commas

Examples of when commas may be used:

1. To separate items in a list of three or more:

  • “The dog ran into the house leaving traces of dirt, grass, and mud.”

2. To separate a quotation from the rest of a sentence:

  • "Jim said “Hey,” I replied “Hello, how are you?”

3. To separate a city from a state:

  • Aiken, South Carolina

Ellipsis- An ellipsis is used in writing to exclude words in a quote that may not be as important to the writing as the remainder of the quote.

Each period should have a single space on either side, except when adjacent to a quotation

mark, in which case there should be no space.

Informal Writing & Quoted Materials

Break-down of how to use an ellipsis example:

1. “The ceremony honored twelve brilliant athletes from the Caribbean who were visiting the U.S."

2. Exclude "from the Caribbean who were"

3. “The ceremony honored twelve brilliant athletes … visiting the U.S.”

Dashes (En & Em)- The less formal version of a colon, also known as a dash, can be used to emphasize the conclusion of a sentence when writing or commonly to indicate a range or a pause. With the horizontal line being quite longer than a hyphen, dashes are also used to separate groups of words instead of separating parts of a word as a hyphen would.

Do not use dashes to set apart items when commas would do the work for you.

There are no spaces between the dash and the letters on either side of a dash.

Examples of dashes being used:

  • “John e-mailed his professor his homework assignment that was due next week.”

  • Between numbers 1-10

  • In time: 3:00-4:15 p.m.

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