Dear Learner, Look at This Comma!

Contributor: Jennifer Blanchard. Lesson ID: 13894

We need commas to separate some words from other words in sentences. Learn how to separate the words yes and no, names, and a tag question from the rest of a sentence.

categories

Grammar

subject
English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

Take a look at this popular joke:

comma joke

Both of those sentences have the same exact words. The only difference is that there is a comma in one of them. The comma can totally change what the sentence is saying.

  • What do you think the first sentence means?
  • What meaning do you get from the second sentence?

Keep reading to find out!

  • What did you think about the baking Grandma joke above?

In the first sentence, the speaker was telling Grandma it was time to bake. In the second sentence, however, the speaker was saying it was time to bake Grandma. That would not taste good!

  • Do you see how one little comma can change so much?

Commas have many important uses.

This lesson explores these three specific uses:

  • using a comma to set off the words yes and no
  • using a comma to set off a tag question from the rest of the sentence
  • using a comma to indicate a direct address

Let's look at each one of these uses more closely.

Using a Comma to Set Off the Words Yes and No

When you are responding to a yes-or-no question, but you want to give more information than just yes or no, you need to use a comma after the yes or no before the other words in the sentence.

Examples:

  • Yes, I can come over to play.
  • No, I did not finish my schoolwork yet.

Using a Comma to Set Off a Tag Question from the Rest of the Sentence

A tag question is a few very short words at the end of a sentence that turns a statement into a question.

When you include a tag question, you need to put a comma before the tag question.

Examples:

  • It's a beautiful day outside, isn't it?
  • She said the birthday party was on Friday, didn't she?

Using a Comma to Indicate a Direct Address

When the speaker in a sentence names the person, people, or group he/she is speaking to, otherwise known as an direct address, use a comma to separate who is being addressed from the rest of the sentence.

If the direct address is at the beginning, use a comma after the direct address.

Example:

  • Camden, can you please come into the kitchen?

If the direct address is at the end of the sentence, use a comma right before the direct address.

Example:

  • Make sure you get a watermelon from the store, Uncle Bill.

If the direct address is in the middle of the sentence, use a pair of commas around the direct address.

Example:

  • Tell me, Jackson, how do you like your new soccer coach?
  • Is this making sense so far?

If so, head to the Got It? section for practice!

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