Commas can be used to offset a parenthesis (i.e., non-essential additional information in your sentence). For example:
- While on holiday in London, Simon Schmidt, a fireman from New York, rescued a cat from a tree.
- While on holiday in London, Simon Schmidt (a fireman from New York) rescued a cat from a tree.
- While on holiday in London, Simon Schmidt — a fireman from New York — rescued a cat from a tree.
Using Commas for a ParenthesisCommas can be used to separate a parenthesis (i.e., additional information that is not essential to the meaning of the sentence) from the rest of the sentence. It is also possible to use dashes or parentheses (brackets). When used to offset a parenthesis, commas, dashes and parentheses (brackets) are called parenthetical punctuation.
Read more about parenthetical punctuation.
Read more about the choice between commas, dashes and parentheses (brackets).
Examples of Commas Used as Parenthetical PunctuationIn each example below, the parenthesis is shaded:
A Parenthesis Is Not Always Mid-SentenceA parenthesis is not always mid-sentence. For example:
Choose Your Parentheses to Assist Your ReaderAlthough the use of commas as parenthetical punctuation makes for a normal-looking sentence, they can become confused with other commas in the sentence. For example:
WHAT IS A PARENTHESIS?
A parenthesis is additional information in a sentence. If a parenthesis is removed, the sentence still makes sense. For example:
More about your choice of parenthetical punctuation
What is a parenthesis?
More about parenthetical punctuation
Commas after a sentence introductions
Commas after a transitional phrase
Commas after interjections (yes, no, indeed)
Commas before conjunctions (and, or, but)
Commas in lists
Commas with a long subject
Commas with numbers
Commas with quotation (speech) marks
Commas with the vocative case
Commas with Dear, Hello, and Hi
List of easily confused words