Adding Commas for Clarity
Sometimes it is necessary to add a comma to make a sentence clear.
Unclear: In the kitchen cupboards were empty.
(Make it clear that the phrase is "in the kitchen," not "in the kitchen cupboards.")
Clear: In the kitchen, cupboards were empty.
Unclear: The room was full of crying babies and mothers.
(Were the mothers crying, too?)
Clear: The room was full of crying babies, and mothers.
Clear: The room was full of mothers and crying babies.This is most humorously evident in the title of the book Eats Shoots And Leaves. If you put commas in the title, it might describe what a hungry gunfighter might do: Eats, Shoots, and Leaves. Without the commas, it describes what a panda's diet consists of: Eats Shoots and Leaves. Make sure you're clear and concise in these matters!