Commas mark a pause in a sentence, about the length of a short breath.

Why would we want to use pauses? Because they group words together into separate ideas, this helps people understand what we’re saying.

If we speak without pausing, everything sounds like a word salad. It’s hard to follow.

When we pause, we give listeners the time and the structure to understand what we’re saying.

In this lesson we’re going to look at two ways we use commas to help us:

  • describe the circumstances around an event, or
  • add extra details.

Before we go further, read the snippets below and imagine what they'd sound like without commas.

Once the results were published, I was marched into the English 1 classroom.

Frozen with fear, I watched the yellow-white flames make a ragged brown line up the pink fabric of my skirt and climb my stomach.

I topped the year in English and Mathematics, much to everyone's amazement.

Mom would shrug and say there was nothing she could do about it, he was her husband.