Commas and Interjections

by Craig Shrives
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Using Commas with Interjections

Commas are used to offset interjections from the rest of the sentence. "Yes," "indeed," "absolutely" are examples of interjections.

What Are Interjections?

Interjections are included in a sentence (usually at the start) to express a sentiment such as surprise, disgust, joy, excitement, or enthusiasm. For example:
  • Yes, I've won. correct tick
  • Indeed, you have. correct tick
  • Well, the rain has played its part in the outcome of this match. correct tick
  • Yes, she will apologize. correct tick
  • Absolutely, a fifth of all the students live in the village. correct tick

A Comma or an Exclamation Mark?

When an interjection at the start of a sentence is followed by a comma, the interjection is given a mild force. To give an interjection at the start of a sentence more force, you can use an exclamation mark. This makes the interjection more impactful. For example:
  • No! It's not yours. correct tick
  • (The interjection is more impactful with an exclamation mark.)
When an interjection is followed by an exclamation mark, it is common for the sentence to be an exclamatory sentence, i.e., one that ends with an exclamation mark. For example:
  • No! It's not yours! correct tick
  • Yes! I've won! correct tick
An interjection at the start of a sentence can also be followed by a period (full stop). A period gives a mild interjection and a slight pause. Here is an infographic that summarizes these points and shows more interjections:
Read more about interjections.
commas and exclamation marks with interjections

An Interjection in the Middle of a Sentence

If an interjection appears in the middle of a sentence, offset it with two commas. If it appears at the end, offset it with one comma. For example:
  • The office can handle, well, four hundred applications per day. correct tick
  • It's cold, indeed. correct tick

Interjections are Not Usually Used in Business Writing

Interjections are usually only used when spoken words are being quoted. You should avoid them in business writing.

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