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Comma, Semicolon, Colon 


Cheryl Iverson

Commas, semicolons, and colons can be used to indicate a break or pause in thought, to set off material, or to introduce a new but connected thought. Each has specific uses, and the strength of the break in thought determines which mark is appropriate. Commas are the least forceful of the 3 marks. There are definite rules for using commas; however, usage is often subjective. Some writers and editors use the comma frequently to indicate what they see as a natural pause in the flow of words, but commas can be overused. The trend is to use them sparingly. Follow

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