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Commas

Generally, usage of the comma is classified into single commas and double
commas.

A. Single Comma
Single commas are used to separate clauses in a sentence.
Example: Jose filed a case against Pedro, and he wanted the case heard
before Christmas.
In the above example, the clause Jose filed a case against Pedro is
separated from the clause and he wanted the case heard before Christmas
using a comma.
The following are the rules in using single comma:
1. Independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction forming a long
compound sentence (e.g., and, for, or, etc.) need a comma before the
conjunction.
Example:
Jose filed a case against Pedro, and he wanted the case heard
before Christmas.
However, in short compound sentences, a comma is not needed.
Example:
Jose lied down and he fell asleep.
2. A comma is also placed after an introductory element or phrase. This
introductory element or phrase may be a word (e.g., However and soon),
or a dependent clause (e.g., At the time, speaking to the plaintiff, or after
the trial).
Examples:
After eating his Bangsilog at a nearby eatery, Kent proceeded to his
classroom.
Riding on a motorcycle, Kent saw the beauty of the countryside.
To ace the midterm examinations, Kent studied day and night.
Although ailing, the defendant managed to answer the questions
correctly.
However, when the introductory element or phrase is very short, one may
not need to use a comma.

Very soon, our professor will arrive.


or,
Very soon our professor will arrive.

3. A comma is necessary when using transitional words.


Examples:
Therefore, Pedro is liable for homicide.
Hence, Pedro committed acts of lasciviousness.
Furthermore, there is adequate evidence to show that the child is
the son of Pablo.
The action, thus, has prescribed.
4. A comma is necessary to separate interrogatory tags after declarative
sentences when the subject of both the statement and the question is the
same.
Example:
Donald Trump is the president of the United States, isnt he?
The accused are police officers, arent they?
However, when the subjects of the statement and the question are
different, they should be separated by a period.
Example:
Kent is taking the bar examinations this year. Arent you?
5. Coordinate adjectives, which are two or more adjectives that equally
modify a noun, must be separated by a comma.
Example:
The President chose to wear his newest, most expensive Barong
Tagalog today.
6. Single commas must also be used to separate words and figures in order
to avoid ambiguity.
Examples:
In 1991, 6.000 people died in that Ormoc flood.

B. Double Comma
Double commas set off words or clauses that interrupt the normal order of
the sentence. Unless such word or clause comes at the beginning or end
of the sentence, a second comma must be used.
The following are the rules when using double commas:
1. Parenthetic expressions are words or phrases that give additional
meaning but are only incidental to the main thought of the sentence. If they
appear in the middle of the sentence, double commas must be used.
Example:
Judges, just like any human, may be tempted to overlook facts out
of pity.
Legal citations within a sentence are parenthetic expressions and must be
set off by commas.
Example:
In People v. De Gracia, 233 SCRA 716, exigent and emergency
circumstances are instances where there can be a valid warrantless
search.
2. Contrasting expressions are parenthetic expressions introduced by not,
but not, but, although, and the like. Double commas are used if they
appear in the middle of the sentence.
Example:
The plaintiff, but not his wife, is predisposed to settle.
3. Appositives are words or phrases placed beside another to add to or
explain the first. Double commas are necessary except in single word
appositives.
Example:
Methamphetamine, more commonly known as shabu, is an illegal
drug.
Examples of single word appositives:
My friend Cesar is a dog trainer.
My brother Vladimir is the president of Russia.
4. A non-restrictive element is a phrase that modifies part of the sentence
but is not essential to its overall meaning, and usually starts with which,
who, although and though; a restrictive element is essential to the overall
meaning, and usually starts with that, when, because, before, if, and
while). The former needs double commas while the latter does not.
Examples:
The class, which meets at the 3rd floor invited Prof. Roiles.
The class that meets at the 3rd floor has invited Prof. Roiles.
restrictive
5. Interrupting words or phrases, usually terms of direct address that
interrupt a sentence must be set off with commas.

Examples:

The proposal, Your Honor, aims to give housing to the landless.

Your bangsilog, sir, is still being prepared.

6. Commas are used to set off quotations, unless it is only one word. The
comma precedes the quotation mark.

Examples:

The laws, said Cicero, place the safety of all before the safety of
individuals.

The witness screamed stop!

Your case, the mediator informed the parties, is given a 30-day


extension.
One can also use a colon instead of a comma.

The police officer said: You are under arrest.

A partial quotation that is part of the sentence is not set off by commas.

Example:

The police officer said that Juan is under arrest.