Commas are used to break up sentences so that they are clear and easy to follow: The journalist who reported on the agreement for The Economist Mary Scott said she had received intimidating phone calls. → The journalist who reported on the agreement for The Economist, Mary Scott, said she had received intimidating phone calls. Writing Tip Commas are more than just a pause in a sentence. They can be vital to its meaning. Commas separating clauses Look carefully at the use of commas in these sentences from essays about international relations. Clauses with participles Relations between the two countries became strained, leading to open hostility. The talks having broken down, relations between the two countries became even more strained. Non-defining relative clauses (which give additional information) There was disagreement on a number of foreign-policy issues, which caused relations between the two countries to become strained. NOTE: You must not use a comma before a de.ning relative clause – that is, one that gives essential information without which the sentence would not make sense: These were among the issues that caused relations between the two countries to become strained.
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