One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A punctuation mark (,) indicating a pause between parts of a sentence. It is also used to separate items in a list and to mark the place of thousands in a large numeral.
- ‘I don't agree with the comma - read that sentence with the suggested pause and see if you still want it there.’
- ‘And not using commas or question marks in the correct places at all times.’
- ‘Out of respect for the opinions of others, I try to use apostrophes and commas correctly, but I'm less interested in the details of punctuation than in nearly any other topic I can think of.’
- ‘I once saw a three-line sentence with eighteen commas, which basically meant that there was a comma after every other word.’
- ‘His personal philosophy of punctuation is, ideally, to avoid all punctuation marks except commas and full stops.’
- ‘Besides the aforementioned substitution of stronger punctuation marks for the slight pauses produced by the commas, this passage in the second edition manifests other telling alterations.’
- ‘Byatt admittedly isn't in this league, but she does have a penchant for sentences with lots of commas.’
- ‘He often used commas to end a sentence, he rarely capitalized proper nouns.’
- ‘For one thing, the author has a nasty habit of separating sentences with a comma, when a semi-colon would be far more appropriate.’
- ‘You don't need to know the 17 reasons to insert a comma into a sentence.’
- ‘You make punctuation mistakes on a regular basis, particularly by using commas when semi-colons or full stops are required.’
- ‘In the realm of punctuation, a comma is used for a brief pause, a semicolon for a more moderate pause, and a period as a full stop.’
- ‘Missing commas and run-on sentences may not be a bad thing for teenagers engaged in writing-intensive online activity, says an English professor.’
- ‘As it is separated from the other words in the list by a comma on either side, it is identified as a separate deduction from the selling prices of the inventory items.’
- ‘Others can have a list of values separated by commas.’
- ‘You should not end your sentence before you have a subject and verb appropriately placed, nor jam all your sentences together with commas.’
- ‘May as well clump them all together in one enormous paragraph; separated only by commas.’
- ‘I thank you all for reading, commenting, arguing and bearing with me while I figured out how to string words into sentences, and use commas, effectively.’
- ‘If the marked semi-colon does not join two groups of words that would make sense as separate sentences, replace the semicolon with a comma.’
- ‘In the areas of punctuation and usage, the Spanish language is much more flexible with commas, semicolons, and word order, and long sentences that would be considered run-ons in English are commonly acceptable in Spanish.’
A minute interval or difference of pitch.
- ‘In the simple folk song shown here, a comma to the right of a pattern of notes signifies that a mini-closure should be expressed.’
- ‘Help the congregation to understand the necessity to sing with meaning (take breaths at commas, not at the end of musical lines).’
- ‘The source of the comma, is the difference between a human singing voice, and an inanimate object: a monochord.’
- ‘Pitches are specified by the letters A-G and a-g, optionally followed by an apostrophe or a comma.’
- ‘No theorist even from the ancient world ever considered an interval as small as a comma (of any kind) to be melodic.’
3A butterfly that has wings with irregular, ragged edges and typically a white or silver comma-shaped mark on the underside of each hind wing.
Genus Polygonia, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae: numerous species, in particular the common eastern comma (P. comma) of eastern North America
- ‘Hi there, just about half an hour or so ago I spotted a Comma butterfly basking on a rock in a woodland glade in the presence of some dragonflies.’
- ‘Adult commas feed from flowers such as dandelions and thistles.’
- ‘The comma butterfly is now regularly seen much further north than previously.’
- ‘Today the comma is a familiar sight in southern England and Wales.’
- ‘Trees have been coming into leaf sooner, migrant birds are arriving earlier, frog spawn is being spotted before Christmas, while comma and holly blue butterflies have been sighted as early as March.’
Late 16th century (originally as a term in rhetoric denoting a group of words shorter than a colon; see colon): via Latin from Greek komma ‘piece cut off, short clause’, from koptein ‘cut’.
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