Use of commas

Commas are used somewhat more often in English than in Swedish. Among other things, they are used to separate parentheses and appositives, to separate longer adverbials, and between two clauses with different subjects (but not two clauses with the same subject).

No: After the war had ended he returned to his family.

Yes: After the war had ended, he returned to his family.

No: His favorite pastimes were drinking absinthe, a popular drink in France at the time and racing horses.

Yes: His favorite pastimes were drinking absinthe, a popular drink in France at the time, and racing horses.

No: Musicians choose to sing in English and books are translated as quickly as possible in order to reach a wider audience.

Yes: Musicians choose to sing in English, and books are translated as quickly as possible in order to reach a wider audience.

No: He somehow managed to get through the narrow window, and fall three stories.

Yes: He somehow managed to get through the narrow window and fall three stories.

Be especially careful to avoid misusing commas in ways that create confusion about the purpose of a conjunction such as and or but.

No: These misunderstandings have lead to conflicts, wars and many people have lost their lives and money due to it.

Yes: These misunderstandings have led to conflicts and wars, and many people have lost their lives and money due to them.

Back to top