Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Student’s Guide to Punctuation: Comma

Although some students would just run through the topic while others would delve into it extensively, any review center for IELTS worth its salt would tell you to pay attention to how you use punctuation in your sentences. As one of those essential sentence components that test takers tend to overlook during their preparation efforts, punctuation or reference marks can definitely put a dent on your overall band score if you do not know what you are doing.

ielts writing

Every sentence that you write in the IELTS writing exam warrants at least a single punctuation. Thus, if your knowledge about them does not extend beyond the concluding period, question mark, and exclamation point, your desired IELTS band score might just end up farther from your reach.

This is the main reason exceptional training facilities like the IELTS review center in Manila discuss the core grammar rules of English in the onset of their programs. Teachers of various review centers for IELTS tackle elementary English lessons not only to refresh their students' memory but also to prepare them for the more complicated concepts of the language. The IELTS review center in Manila, for instance, explores the figures of speech, subject-verb agreement, and punctuation principles in their first few classes.

The Most Abused Punctuation, the Comma

Among the various reference marks of the English language, the comma is perhaps the most abused punctuation. Unlike the other reference marks, it can be used more than twice in a sentence to express a pause, to separate ideas, introduce a quotation, and indicate transitions.

Here are six of the many rules governing the usage of the comma. 

1.    Use a comma to separate the introductory participial phrase from the rest of the sentence.

Startled by his appearance, she almost dropped her books.
Taking a deep breath, he swept his brush across the canvas in a graceful arc.

2.    Use a comma to separate consecutive distinct ideas or divide items noted in a list.

The house was dilapidated; with its peeling paint, leaking ceilings, and creaking floorboards.
She had to stop by the grocery to buy eggs, bacon, onions, and butter.

3.    Use a comma to introduce a coordinating conjunction that links two independent clauses. For reference, coordinating conjunctions are composed of the following: for, and, or, nor, but, so, yet.

He wanted to watch the concert, but he did not have enough money to buy a ticket.
She does not like basketball very much, yet here she is watching you play.

4.    Use commas to enclose nonessential description that follows and refers to the subject.

Mrs. Macfarlane, the owner of the nearest corner store, sometimes bakes cakes for the school fair.
The student, who knows how to speak three languages, answered most of the teacher's questions.

5.    Use a comma to indicate direct quotations.

She glared at him, "Why did you do that?"
He had the grace to blush as he answered, "I didn't mean to do that."

6.    Use commas to interrupt direct quotations.

"I trusted you," he cried, "That was my mistake."
"You should have seen the look on her face when she found out,” he told her, "It was hilarious."
Complement your essays by using the comma strategically. Consider the grammar rules mentioned above when you create your compositions. However, bear in mind that those rules are just the tip of the comma application iceberg. Attend your review center for IELTS lectures to learn the more.


  • “Rules for Comma Usage.” Grammarly. Accessed May 16, 2017.
  • “Comma (,).” Oxford Dictionaries. Accessed May 16, 2017.
  • “Commas.” Grammar Book. Accessed May 16, 2017.
  • “13 Rules For Using Commas Without Looking Like An Idiot.” Business Insider. Accessed May 16, 2017.

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