Using a Comma after a Long Subject

The Quick Answer
You can use a comma after a long compound subject to show your readers where the subject ends. (Be aware that this is not a popular practice with many grammarians.)

For example:
  • Leaving a list of Internet passwords, increasing your life insurance and writing a will, will give you peace of mind while you are on operations.
  • (We judge the comma in this example to be helpful.)

Using a Comma after a Long Subject

A comma can be used to group a complicated compound subject.

What Is a Compound Subject?

When the subject of a sentence is made up of a list of things, it is known as a compound subject. For example:
  • Simon and Tina are happy.
  • (In this example, Simon and Tina is a compound subject with two elements.)
  • Simon from Portsmouth with the permed hair and Tina with the Jack Russell from the fish market are happy.
  • (This is also compound subject with two elements. In this example, the elements are more complicated.)

Using a Comma to Group a Complicated Compound Subject

Sometimes a compound subject has so many complicated elements, writers like to show the end of the subject with a comma to aid their readers.

For example (long subjects are shaded):
  • A clean driving licence, the ability to operate under pressure and 5 years' experience in marketing, are the only criteria stipulated by the selection panel.
  • (The shaded text is the compound subject of this sentence. The verb is are.)

  • Murder is the only crime that does not increase during a full moon. Theft, disorderly conduct, larceny, armed robbery, assault and battery, and rape, increase dramatically during a full moon.
  • (The shaded text is the compound subject of this sentence. The verb is increase.)

See Also

Using commas (a summary) Our big commas test Commas after a sentence introductions Commas after a transitional phrase Commas after interjections (yes, no, indeed) Commas before conjunctions (and, or, but) Commas for parenthesis Commas in lists Commas with numbers Commas with quotation (speech) marks Commas with the vocative case Commas with Dear, Hello, and Hi