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Updated on January 21, 2021

Use a comma to separate elements in a sentence, such as items in a series, introductory phrases, or clauses. Apply the following specific rules for correct comma usage.

Commas between items in a series

In a series consisting of three or more items, separate each item with a comma. Use a comma before the conjunction that precedes the final item. (The comma that comes before the conjunction is known as the Oxford or serial comma.)


  • You need a laptop, two monitors, and a mouse.
  • Visualize, track, and manage tasks from the dashboard.
  • You can import, rename, or reclassify a case type.

Commas after introductory words and phrases

Use a comma after introductory words, clauses, and phrases.


  • For more information, see the Pega Robotic Automation version 19.1 Release Notes.
  • To move the model element, click Refactor > Move.

Commas between clauses

Use a comma between independent clauses that are separated by a coordinating conjunction, unless the clauses are short or closely related. Coordinating conjunctions are and, but, or, nor, for, so, and yet.


  • Not only are companies outsourcing development, but they are also outsourcing critical projects.
  • Click Save and type a file name.

  • Click the Apply to class field, press the Down arrow key, and then select the class in which you want to save the model.
Note: “Then” is not a coordinating conjunction. You cannot join independent clauses with “then” unless you add a coordinating conjunction or a semicolon.


  • Click Start, and then select a program.
  • Click Start; then select a program.

Commas with nonrestrictive clauses and phrases

Use commas to set off nonrestrictive clauses. A nonrestrictive clause provides extra information about an item that is not essential to the meaning of the sentence. If you remove the nonrestrictive clause, the basic meaning of the sentence does not change. For more information about restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses, see the section on Grammar guidelines in the Grammar topic.


  • The Recovery log, which the system generates automatically, shows the cause of the problem.
  • The updates, which are free to subscribers, are also available on the website.
  • Specify a font, such as Calibri or Helvetica, before you save the document.

Commas with restrictive clauses and phrases

Do not use commas to set off restrictive clauses. A restrictive clause provides essential information to the meaning of the sentence. If you remove the restrictive clause, the meaning of the sentence changes.


  • The Recovery log that contains the most recent information is in the Temp directory.
  • Customers who subscribe to the service receive monthly updates.
  • Specify an operating system such as z/OS to support 64-bit applications.

Commas with the phrases “for example” and “such as”

To introduce an inline example, use the phrase “for example”, or “such as.” Do not use the phrase “for instance” or the Latin abbreviation “e.g.”.

Use these phrases to provide examples of something that you are describing by introducing them with an independent clause, and then taking one of the following approaches:

  • Enter a command; for example, enter Restart.
  • Enter a command. For example, enter Restart.
  • You can insert a line break; for example, you can use the <br> element.
  • You can insert a line break. For example, you can use the <br> element.
  • You can customize your application at run time by styling controls, such as buttons or text fields, to create a unified UI across your application.
  • You can use this option to create logic to persist data to any system, such as a REST service.

If the lead-in phrase for the example introduces a word or phrase that is not an independent clause, take one of the following approaches:

  • Use a comma before and after “for example.”
  • Use the phrase “such as,” but do not include a comma after such as.
  • Rewrite the phrase as an independent clause, following the guidance above for independent clauses.


  • Specify a platform, for example, z/OS.
  • Specify a platform, such as z/OS.
  • Specify a platform. For example, you can specify z/OS.

If the example comprises an inline list, use one of the following approaches:

  • Use a comma before and after “for example.”
  • Use the phrase “such as,” but do not include a comma after “such as.”

Commas with coordinate adjectives

When two or more adjectives precede a noun, use a comma between the adjectives when the following statements are true:

  • You can place “and” between the adjectives and the sentence retains its meaning, and
  • You can reverse the order of the adjectives and the sentence retains its meaning.

Example: Design a consistent, simple, and efficient user interface by using design templates.

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