Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
University of Newcastle Library guides

Common feedback comments and what they mean: Using a comma

This guide lists some common feedback comments and explains what they mean.

Using a comma

Using a comma

Use a comma:
•    To separate items in a list
                 o Please bring a pen, pencil, eraser and calculator to the exam.

•    To separate adjectives in a sentence
                o    It was a hot, humid day.

•    When you have used a conjunction to join two ideas together in one sentence.
                o    The policy was failing, and the company had to address the situation quickly.

•    To interrupt the main idea
                o    The results, long overdue and much anticipated, were finally released on Friday.
       
•    To begin a sentence with a transition word e.g. However,
                o    Finally, restructuring has affected public sector employment and services.

•    When one character speaks directly to another

                o  “Please call Tom about the party," Wendy suggested.


•    To separate the elements of a location
                o    The missing woman was found on a property near Narrabri, New South Wales.

•    To separate an appositive. An appositive is a noun or noun phrase that renames another noun right beside it.     
                o    The insect, a large, black cockroach, was scurrying across the table.


The Oxford comma:

The Oxford comma is the final comma in a list of things. It is used to avoid confusion in a sentence.

 For example, the sentence, “I had eggs, toast and orange juice for breakfast” suggests that the orange juice is on the toast. Using a comma after the word ‘toast’ makes the sentence clearer: “I had eggs, toast, and orange juice for breakfast.


Dashes and brackets:

Avoid using dashes (-) and brackets ( ) [ ] in academic writing. Use commas when you want to interrupt the sentence.

Avoid using brackets: Example: The Yorkshire terrier (a small dog with a long silky coat) is a popular companion dog.

Avoid using dashes: Example: The Yorkshire terrier - a small dog with a long silky coat- is a popular companion dog.

 

Use commas instead: Example: The Yorkshire terrier, a small dog with a long silky coat, is a popular companion dog.

 

Pathways and Learning Support

Contact us if you need help

www.newcastle.edu.au/ctl-ld

Students can access

  • Workshops
  • Maths & stats help
  • Online resources
  • Consultations
  • e-Consultations

t: 61 2 4921 5350

e: ld@newcastle.edu.au