Comma – Part II

To separate adjectives used in the predicative position

Adjectives used in the predicative position are always separated by commas.

  • He is tall, dark and handsome.
  • That was a lovely, long, cool drink.

Sometimes commas are not used between the last two adjectives which are usually separated by a conjunction like and or or.

Commas are sometimes dropped between short adjectives.

In direct speech

A comma is generally used between a reporting verb and a piece of direct speech.

  • Looking at the painting, she said, ‘I like this one.’

If the reporting verb follows a piece of direct speech, we usually use a comma instead of a full stop before the closing quotation mark.

  • ‘I don’t like this,‘ said Jane.


Large numbers are often divided into groups of three figures by using commas.

Examples are:

  • 5,768 (NOT 5.768)
  • 6, 567, 873

Commas are sometimes not used in four figure numbers.

  • 5,378 or 5378

Commas are never used in dates.

  • The Year 1953 (NOT The Year 1,953)

Cases where commas are not used

Commas are not used before that, what, where etc in indirect speech structures.

  • Nobody realized that the child was missing. (NOT Nobody realized, that the child …)
  • She didn’t know what to do. (NOT She didn’t know, what to do.)

Commas are not used between two grammatically independent sentences. Instead we use a full stop or a semicolon.

  • The blue dress was cheap. On the other hand, the pink dress was better. OR The blue dress was cheap; on the other hand, the pink dress was better. (NOT The blue dress was cheap, on the other hand, …)