Comma: How Important Are They In Academic Writing

We are all well aware of the absolutely vital importance that punctuation hold in any form of written work. It is when these same punctuation marks are to be used in any form of academic writing that it becomes of the utmost importance to master the use of them. The most difficult and the most important of punctuation marks, without which any written work may just seem nonsensical, is the comma. Although small and seemingly harmless this little punctuation mark can be the difference between a something extraterrestrial such as a carnivorous cow eating plant and a normal cow, grazing on the grass. Here’s how:

I saw a cow eating grass.

I saw a cow, eating grass.

Here while the first sentence refers to the former description of a cow being eaten by a grass, the later sentence refers to a normal cow eating some grass. This is how a simple comma can change the meaning of the entire sentence.

Why punctuation is important in academic writing

  • It makes the work understandable. It is sometimes downright impossible for a reader to make out what the writer has meant when writing some particular thing if the use of commas is missing.
  • In longer, more complicated sentences, the difficulty to understand all the clauses and sub clauses of the sentence becomes all the harder when commas are not used. It even becomes difficult to separate the different clauses of a sentence since we are used to reading any single sentence in one go.
  • In lists or a series of examples, it is necessary to use commas to separate every single item from the one before it and the one preceding it. In such cases an incorrect item may be understood by the reader; or in academic writing the reader may misunderstand the examples used.

Now that it is clear as to why using commas is vital to academic writing, to allow the sentence to make sense and to allow the reader to clearly understand what the writer is trying to tell, it is equally important to understand where and how commas are to be used in the English language:

  • In a sentence which talks about more than one thing. Meaning that the sentence has more than one aspect to it requires each aspect of the sentence to be separated by a comma. This could include the discussion of more than one thing or multiple things in a sentence.
  • They are used to separate clauses in a sentence. In a sentence with clauses, each clause is separated from the main sentence and from each other by the use of a comma. In this manner, the clauses can be easily understood by the reader.
  • In a list or a series. In lists commas are used to separate each item. The use of bulletin points and line spacing is optional, however. In series’ also, the use of commas to separate each point, item or example in the series is necessary. This is most commonly the case in a series of items or examples.
  • Commas are used with words such as “however”.

Although the above mentioned extensive list covers the vital aspects of why commas are important, it is still easy to get confused on their usage. If you still need help in getting your commas right then contact British Essay Writing Service for more help.