Sign Up For Our Free Grammar E-Newsletter

Commas, Part 9

Rule 1 – Use a comma to separate a statement from a question.
Example: I can go, can’t I?

Rule 2 – Use a comma to separate contrasting parts of a sentence.
Example: That is my money, not yours.

Pop Quiz
Select the correct sentence.

1A. You’re Marvin from my old Denver neighborhood, aren’t you?
1B. You’re Marvin from my old Denver neighborhood aren’t you?

2A. I believe that’s my jacket, isn’t it?
2B. I believe that’s my jacket isn’t it?

3A. That is a mountain lion not a house cat.
3B. That is a mountain lion, not a house cat.

Pop Quiz Answers
1A. You’re Marvin from my old Denver neighborhood, aren’t you?
2A. I believe that’s my jacket, isn’t it?
3B. That is a mountain lion, not a house cat.

Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013, at 2:45 pm


4 Comments

4 Responses to “Commas, Part 9”

  1. Debbie says:

    I would like clarification for this type of sentence if a comma should be used when you are saying “not this, but that”.

    Picture it not only in your minds, but in your hearts.

    Should there be a comma separating contrasting parts of a sentence?

  2. Debbie says:

    I couldn’t find a rule that I thought applied to this question. Should there be a comma in this question?

    What did Elizabeth give birth to, a boy or a girl?

    • Jane says:

      Dear Debbie,
      We apologize for the delay in responding to your question. Your sentence does not fit any of the comma rules on our GrammarBook.com website perfectly. The sentence is more or less a mix of two rules:

      Rule 17 – Use a comma to separate a statement from a question.
      Example: I can go, can’t I?

      Rule 18 – Use a comma to separate contrasting parts of a sentence.
      Example: That is my money, not yours.

      Our conclusion: “What did Elizabeth give birth to, a boy or a girl?” is fine as is.

Leave a Reply