Edits By Knight

Using Commas to Join Independent Clauses Within a Sentence

     When it comes to joining independent clausesyou’ve got a lot of options; I’m not going to go into all of them here, though—right now, we’re talking about commas! I’ll talk about the difference between independent and dependent (or subordinate) clauses in a separate blog post, so for our purposes, we’ll assume you know the difference.

 

     When you’re joining two independent clauses within a sentence using a comma, you’ll also need a coordinating conjunction. The most common coordinating conjunctions are easy to remember using the acronym FANBOYS: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, and So. (Don’t look at me, I didn’t make it up—though I kind of wish I had!) You can’t just take your pick, though; each coordinating conjunction creates a different relationship between the clauses. Sometimes, you just want to add something or offer an alternative; other times, you’ll be looking to introduce a contrast or cause/effect. 

 

     Whichever you choose, the comma will always come before the conjunction—always. Here are some examples:

I ate sushi, but she wanted pizza. (contrast)

I was starving, so I ordered takeout. (cause/effect)

I will order food, for I am hungry. (effect/cause)

We can go inside the bank, or we can use the ATM. (alternative)

He likes to sing, and she plays the piano. (addition)

I can neither read, nor can I watch TV. (negative alternative; requires mild rewording of second clause)

     Keep in mind that, while you can have more than two independent clauses within a sentence, each will require its own separate coordinating conjunction:

I was craving sushi, but she wanted noodles, so we ordered different meals. (contrast, cause/effect)

     Be sure to check out the rest of the basics of comma usage, and visit visit my blog’s main page to find tips and tricks for editors, writers, and freelancers!

Miko lives in North Alabama with their husband, Mark—two bright blue dots in a really red state. The pair have three cats, Henry, Louise, and Jefferson Twilight, and live the quiet and satisfying lives of two nerdy introverts. The work-from-home lifestyle is perfect for Miko, who was diagnosed with ADHD and autism in their late thirties.

     In their spare time, Miko enjoys gardening, playing the piano, singing, playing JRPGs, Tabletop gaming, and (of course) reading.

For more about me, visit my blog here.

Miko lives in North Alabama with their husband, Mark—two bright blue dots in a really red state. The pair have three cats, Henry, Louise, and Jefferson Twilight, and live the quiet and satisfying lives of two nerdy introverts. The work-from-home lifestyle is perfect for Miko, who was diagnosed with ADHD and autism in their late thirties.

     In their spare time, Miko enjoys gardening, playing the piano, singing, playing JRPGs, Tabletop gaming, and (of course) reading.

For more about me, visit my blog here.