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The comma ( , ) is one of the most commonly used punctuation marks in English. Commas are the same in appearance as apostrophes (), but are placed on the bottom line of the text, in the same location as periods.
Generally speaking, commas are used to connect two or more elements in a sentence, but the way in which they do this varies widely, depending on what these elements are and how they are arranged in the sentence.
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punctuation [Lat.,=point], the use of special signs in writing to clarify how words are used; the term also refers to the signs themselves. In every language, besides the sounds of the words that are strung together there are other features, such as tone, accent, and pauses, that are equally significant (see grammar and phonetics). In English, stress, pausing, and tonal changes interlock in a set of patterns often called intonations. Such features are represented by punctuation, indicated by signs inserted usually between words, and often following the feature they mark.

The intonations of declaration are classified in three types, symbolized by the comma (,), used to separate words or phrases for clarity; the semicolon (;), used to mark separation between elements in a series of related phrases, generally in a long sentence; and the full stop, or period (.), used to mark the end of a sentence. Other intonations are shown by the exclamation point (!); the interrogation point, or question mark (?); the parenthesis [( )], used to set off a word or phrase from a sentence that is complete without it; and the colon (:), typically used to introduce material that elaborates on what has already been said. Quotation marks (“ ”) indicate direct quotation or some borrowing, and usually demand special intonation. The ellipsis (…) is used to indicate the place in a passage where material has been omitted or a thought has trailed off. The long dash (—) is especially used in handwriting for incomplete intonation patterns.

Punctuation of material intended to be read silently rather than aloud—the far more usual case today—has introduced refinements designed to help the reader: brackets ([ ]), a secondary parenthesis; capital letters; paragraphing; and indentation. Two other frequent signs are the apostrophe ('), marking an omission of one or two letters, or a possessive case, and the hyphen (-), marking a line division or an intimate joining, as in compound words. These last two are practically extra letters, and their use, belonging with spelling rather than with punctuation, is highly arbitrary.

Each written language has its tradition of punctuation, often very different from that used in English; thus, in German nouns are capitalized, and in Spanish the beginnings of exclamations and of questions are marked with inverted signs. See also accent.


See W. D. Drake, The Way to Punctuate (1971); Words into Type (3d ed. 1974); D. Hacker, A Writer's Reference (4th ed. 1999); Univ. of Chicago Press, The Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed. 2003).

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The difference between the larger and smaller whole tones in the just scale, corresponding to a frequency ratio of 81/80.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Music a minute interval
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


COMputable MAthematics.

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"," ASCII character 44. Common names: ITU-T: comma. Rare: ITU-T: cedilla; INTERCAL: tail.

In the C programming language, "," is an operator which evaluates its first argument (which presumably has side-effects) and then returns the value of its second argument. This is useful in "for" statements and macros.
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In programming, the comma (,) is used to separate values in a function call. For example, in the C statement printf ("The result is %s\n", amount); the comma separates the display string from the name of the variable.
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References in periodicals archive ?
If you're a person of the ear (which before the 1850s most readers were), commas are for breathing.
A quick punctuation lesson before we proceed: In a list of three or more items--like "beans, potatoes and rice"--some people would put a comma after potatoes, and some would leave it out.
David Hitch, an old colleague whose editorial cartoons continue to amaze me in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, passes along an example of the comma's abuse from his own family.
This article deals with the multi-million dollar comma involving Rogers Communications.
(9) In fact, as Truss (2004) observes of commas, "When it comes to improving the clarity of a sentence, you can nearly always argue that one should go in; you can nearly always argue that one should come out" (p.
Most references include a comma after the individuals name though publication records generally do not.
In other words, according to most schoolmasters studied, those punctuation marks considered of primary importance for the composition and reading of a text are the comma, the colon, the full stop, the note of admiration and the note of interrogation; some of them also include either the semicolon (3) or the parenthesis, and other ones both.
In the final example, that first comma is not punctuating the conjunction but rather is one of a pair of commas surrounding the parenthetical insert "according to the council."
* Who versus whom and the uses of commas were the two most frequently asked topics.
It struck me (but not my proofreader) as an obit heading, using a comma instead of a verb.
Suddenly, a lot of adults who hadn't paid a lot of attention to their commas were using them with great pride.