A comma is used to pause speech patterns and thoughts. As you are reading, the comma is there to make you take a short break. It’s so short that you might not even know you paused. Go back and read the second sentence in this paragraph. Notice the comma? Now read it out loud. See how you pause when you get to the comma? Why is that?
Commas separate phrases. It divides the sentence up in a way that allows it to be flexible. I originally said
As you are reading, the comma is there to make you take a short break.
That comma separates the clause in the beginning from the main part of the sentence. Here is a little trick that can help you see that. This type of clause can be moved about in your sentence and still have it make sense. It might not flow quite so smoothly, but technically it is correct.
The comma is there to make you take a short break as you are reading.
The comma is there, as you are reading, to make you take a short break.
See how the clause travels and keeps the same message stated clearly? The comma is the tool that helps you do that and signifies the clause and the ability. Let’s look at another example but with combining two sentences.
Peter cooked dinner, and Janet poured the wine.
The comma here shows the reader they can pause at the end of the first sentence and that a second sentence has been conjoined with the first one to help create a more fluid sentence. If you had to split them up, the comma tells you where.
Look at the comma as a directional for you to pause and consider the sentence. It helps you create sentences that flow and are developed.
Now, do you understand commas a little better? They can still be scary to use. Don’t be hesitate to ask questions and look up the answers. Commas are very important in the written word. As we cannot hear the words being spoken, we have to see the pauses to understand the message.