English is difficult (and weird) – and English writing is especially difficult. Using the comma in English can be especially difficult for English speakers and for English learners.

In our video, we’ll show you 3 simple ways to understand the comma. We’ll show you when using the comma in English is necessary, when it’s optional and when it’s helpful. At the end of the video you can help us decide the subject of our next video. You can also do a quick exercise to practice what you learn from the video!

Before you watch the video, it helps to know about sentence structure. Before you watch the video, please check out our Quick English post about sentence structure.

OK, ready for the video? Let’s begin!

Using the comma in English: test your skills!

So you think you know how and when to use the comma in English? Click on EXERCISE to try a quick activity! (Then click ANSWERS to see if you were right)

EXERCISE

This sample news story needs some commas. When is using a comma necessary? When should we use a comma? When is using a comma helpful? Try to improve the story!

A man was arrested today in London on suspicion of murder and two other crimes.
The police officers who arrested him said they discovered him with a gun a knife and a bomb. Fortunately he was unable to use any of these when he was arrested.
At midnight police raided his home which is near the Emirates stadium. He is now in custody in Islington police station where he will be questioned for the murder of a man a terrorist threat and the theft of a politician’s briefcase.

ANSWERS

, = a comma which we must use
, = a comma which we should use
, = a comma which is helpful

A man was arrested today in London on suspicion of murder and two other crimes.
The police officers who arrested him said they discovered him with a gun, a knife, and a bomb. Fortunately, he was unable to use any of these when he was arrested.
At midnight, police raided his home, which is near the Emirates stadium. He is now in custody in Islington police station, where he will be questioned for the murder of a man, a terrorist threat and the theft of a politician’s briefcase.

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