Practice in Creating Sentences With Commas

A Sentence-Imitation Exercise

Maurice Alexandre F.P/Getty Images

Confused on when and where to place commas in a sentence? Almost everyone gets rusty from time to time. Here's a little exercise that can help you learn when commas are necessary or to help you dust the cobwebs off of your already acquired skills.

This sentence-imitation exercise will give you practice in applying four guidelines to using sentences correctly. 


Use each of the four sentences below as the model for a new sentence of your own.

Your new sentence should follow the guidelines in parenthesis and use the same number of commas as in the original.

Example: The younger children spent the afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese, and the others went to the ball game.
(Guideline: Use a comma before a coordinatorand, but, yet, or, nor, for, so—that links two main clauses.)
Sample sentences:
a) Vera cooked the roast beef, and Phil baked a pumpkin pie.
b) Tom ordered steak, but the waiter brought Spam.


Model 1: I rang the bell and pounded on the door, but no one answered.
(Guideline: Use a comma before a coordinatorand, but, yet, or, nor, for, so—that links two main clauses; do not use a comma before a coordinator that links two words or phrases.)

Model 2: I sent Elaine a basket full of apricots, mangoes, bananas, and dates.
(Guideline: Use commas to separate words, phrases, or clauses that appear in a series of three or more.)

Model 3: Because the storm had knocked out the electricity, we spent the evening telling ghost stories on the porch.

(​​Guideline: Use a comma after a phrase or clause that precedes the subject of the sentence.)

Model 4: Simone LeVoid, who has never voted in her life, is running for the post of county commissioner.
(Guideline: Use a pair of commas to set off nonessential words, phrases, or clauses—also called nonrestrictive elements—that interrupt a sentence.)

More Help With Comma Placement

For additional practice in using commas effectively, take this Comma Quiz and do this Review Exercise: Using Commas and Semicolons Correctly