ELA 5: Introducing With Commas

Commas can be a great way to help introduce a sentence. Just make sure to watch the video first and see what we're talking about. Starting a sentence with just a comma would be pretty strange. And everyone who reads it will laugh at you...not that that's happened to us or anything.

5th GradeLanguage Arts
Elementary and Middle School5th Grade
LanguageEnglish Language

Transcript

00:27

Everybody’s like, “Oh, my God! Comma! I love you in lists!”

00:30

But commas are so much more than just placeholders in lists.

00:34

They’re sick of being pigeon-holed and typecast.

00:37

Because… you know what else they’re great at? Making introductions. [Comma on a skateboard]

00:40

That’s right. A comma can help introduce a sentence.

00:43

It can set up what’s happening, where it's happening, how it's happening, or provide

00:47

any other interesting information so we can better understand what follows. [Dino explaining what commas set up]

00:51

See? This thing is soooo multi-talented.

00:53

Okay…let’s take a look at this sentence: "In the gym after school, David and Eric sat

00:58

on the floor in their practice jerseys."

01:00

Before we start reading, we have no idea what's happening, but the bit of the sentence before

01:04

the comma helps to set the scene. [First part of the sentence highlighted]

01:06

"In the gym after school" tells us not only where stuff is happening – in the gym – but

01:10

also when: after school.

01:12

Double duty. Yee-haw.

01:14

So before we even get around to David and Eric and whatever trouble it is they’re [David and Eric sitting on a basketball court after school]

01:18

getting into… the stage is already set.

01:21

Now let's imagine that same sentence, but without the introductory part:

01:25

"David and Eric sat on the floor in their practice jerseys."

01:28

Okay… It’s a well-formed sentence and all, but it makes the reader work a bit harder.

01:32

We know that David and Eric are sitting on a floor, but we have no idea where.

01:36

In a classroom? [David and Eric sitting on the floor in a classroom]

01:37

In a stadium?

01:38

In a juvenile detention hall, perhaps?

01:40

Without that little introductory bit, the reader has no idea.

01:43

Which is fine if it’s a mystery novel, but just plain confusing in pretty much any other situation. [Girl reading a book]

01:48

And, yes, you can ask a comma for its autograph if you see it at the mall.

01:52

Just don’t accidentally confuse it for a semi-colon. It will brush you off in a hurry. [Girl asks comma for an autograph and comma rides off on a skateboard]