Common mistake if we can't we ...

Common Grammar Mistake: Missing Commas


Grammar plays a crucial role in effective communication. Even minor mistakes can lead to confusion and misinterpretation. One common grammar mistake that often goes unnoticed is the incorrect placement or omission of commas. In this article, we will explore the importance of commas and highlight some common instances where they are often missing.

The Purpose of Commas

Commas have several important functions in writing:

  • Separating Items in a List: Commas are used to separate three or more items in a list. For example: "I need to buy apples, oranges, and bananas."
  • Separating Clauses: Commas are used to separate independent clauses in a compound sentence. For example: "She went to the market, but she forgot to buy bread."
  • Setting off Nonessential Information: Commas are used to set off nonessential or parenthetical information. For example: "My sister, who is a doctor, lives in New York."
  • Introducing Direct Quotations: Commas are used to introduce direct quotations. For example: "The teacher said, 'Please complete the assignment by tomorrow.'

Common Instances of Missing Commas

Now, let's take a closer look at some common instances where commas are often missing:

1. In Compound Sentences

When two independent clauses are joined by a coordinating conjunction (such as "and," "but," "or," "so," etc.), a comma should be placed before the conjunction. For example: "I love to read, but I also enjoy watching movies."

2. In Complex Sentences

In complex sentences, where an independent clause is followed by a dependent clause, a comma is needed if the dependent clause comes before the independent clause. For example: "Although it was raining, we decided to go for a walk."

3. After Introductory Phrases

When a sentence begins with an introductory phrase or word, a comma should be used to separate it from the rest of the sentence. For example: "After finishing my homework, I went for a jog."

4. Around Nonessential Information

When a sentence includes nonessential information or additional details, commas should be used to set off that information. For example: "The book, which was published last year, became an instant bestseller."

5. In Lists

In a list of three or more items, commas should be used to separate each item. For example: "I have to buy milk, eggs, and bread from the grocery store."


Proper comma usage is essential for clear and effective communication. By understanding the different roles commas play in sentences and being aware of common instances where they are often missing, you can improve your writing and avoid these grammar mistakes. Remember, even the smallest punctuation mark can make a significant difference in the meaning of a sentence!

Linguix Grammar Checker can help you identify and correct missing commas, ensuring that your writing is error-free and polished.

if we can't we ... mistake examples

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    If I can't we'll record a short Zoom meeting.

    If I can't, we'll record a short Zoom meeting.

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  • Incorrect:
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  • Incorrect:
    If it wasn't it is now!

    If, it wasn't, it is now!

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    If it's someone asking for information, reply, then delete it.
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