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Meet the comma

David and Paige introduce you to the superhero of the punctuation world: the comma! Practice this yourself on Khan Academy right now: 

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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Hello grammarians. Today Paige and I are going to teach you all about your new best friend, the comma. It is a piece of punctuation that has many many functions. We're just going to broadly overview them today. The comma is an extremely powerful piece of punctuation, can do a whole bunch of stuff. So Paige, what is the most pertinent or important thing that the comma does? - [Voiceover] I would probably say that it is separating sentence elements. - [Voiceover] So that's like its broad super-power-- - [Voiceover] Exactly. - [Voiceover] But lots of stuff falls under that. So it's like it has laser vision but it can not only use that laser vision to boil water, but it can also cut through steel. - [Voiceover] Exactly. - [Voiceover] So this is a superhero punctuation mark. I'll make that into a C for comma. So okay, so how is the comma going to save the day today? How's it going to make our sentences make sense? What are some of the things that it separates? - [Voiceover] So it can separate elements of lists. - [Voiceover] For lunch I had tofu, spam, and seaweed. A very Hawai'ian lunch. - [Voiceover] Mm-hm, delicious. - [Voiceover] So it's separating these elements of this list. I guess commas can also separate dates. - [Voiceover] That's right. - [Voiceover] So for example, here in the United States, National Blueberry Muffin Day is July 11th, and if we wanted to refer to a historical blueberry muffin day, let's say July 11th, 1981. - [Voiceover] Wow. - [Voiceover] It was the best muffin day ever. - [Voiceover] I wish I could have been around for that. - [Voiceover] Yeah, okay, so a comma can separate lists and it can be used for dates, and we can also set off things at the beginning of sentences, like basically, everything is great. The comma has a bunch of different functions. It's this super-useful multi-tool. It's the superhero of a piece of punctuation. So we're not going to cover all of that in this video. The most important thing to remember about the comma is what it does is separate sentence elements. It can separate clauses, it can separate items in a list, it can separate dates. Usually, when you're trying to make a separation within a sentence, you use a comma. So Paige, so what are some things that commas can't do? - [Voiceover] That's a great question. So, commas can't go at the end of a sentence. - [Voiceover] Okay, so I couldn't be like, I want to go swimming comma. It couldn't end a sentence that way. - [Voiceover] Right, you need to say something after the comma. - [Voiceover] So this is no good. Or you have to keep going, like I'm going to go swimming, and then sailing. And end it with a period, like that. That's totally fine usage for a comma. If it's in the middle of a sentence but not at the end of a sentence. - [Voiceover] Right. - [Voiceover] Okay, so commas only go in the middle. - [Voiceover] Yeah. - [Voiceover] So comma separates stuff which therefore means it has to be in-between something. - [Voiceover] Right, there has to be something to the left and something to the right. - [Voiceover] Cool, all right. That's a comma-- - [Voiceover] Yeah-- - [Voiceover] Wouldn't you say? - [Voiceover] I think we have successfully met the comma. - [Voiceover] Cool, you can learn anything. David out. - [Voiceover] Paige out.