RHL School

English Basics
Volume 2, Number 35, June 15, 1998


Commas in a List

When an author is listing a number of words or groups of words in a sentence, he/she should separate them with commas.

Example: Don’t forget to bring the film, batteries, lens cleaning paper, and telephoto lens.

The comma that comes right before the and is optional.


The commas make it easier to understand what the author is saying. Look at them carefully as you read each sentence below and answer the questions about them.

1. Peter had to buy cream, cheese, hot dogs, coffee, ice cream, and peanut butter.

How many items did Peter have to buy? __________


2. Oscar had to buy cream cheese, hot dogs, coffee ice cream, and peanut butter.

How many items did Oscar have to buy? __________


3. We played tennis, rode horses, hiked, roasted marshmallows, ran from killer bees, and swam.

How many different activities were mentioned? __________


4. Joe visited New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Texas and South Dakota.

How many states did Joe visit? __________


Anne took five pictures, each of a different subject. Complete the following sentence by adding the missing commas.

5. Anne photographed a dog house two muddy children tropical birds her new car and Patrick’s pet cat.


Copyright 1998 RHL

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