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Bad News, Sir, Your Commas are Missing!

Please take note of how many commas there are in the title above and where they are located. If that's how you write your text and PM/DM messages, there's a good reason for people to conclude that you are well-educated.


If you're a fresh graduate applying for a job that requires proficiency in the English language, you will most likely be hired if you write that way.


"Sir" in the title above is called "noun of address" in grammar, and the rule is: The noun of address should be set off (separated from) with a comma from the rest of the sentence, or with commas if the noun is in the middle of the sentence.


"Good morning, friends!" This very short sentence has a noun of address which is why there is a comma. Please realize that if you remove "friends," the two words left will still make sense as greeting statement. On the other hand, if we delete "Sir" in the title above, the rest of the words will still make a complete sentence.


When certain words in a sentence can be removed without changing the essence of the sentence and ruining its grammar, those words are considered "non-essential" elements of the sentence. That's the main reason those elements have to be set off with a comma (or commas) within the sentence.


"Yes" and "no," and their equivalent expressions also need a comma when you put them at the beginning of a sentence.  


"Yes, I will go out and vote in the coming election.


"No, I will not vote in my hometown but here in Manila."


"Yes, I do love you to the moon and back!"


"Aye, Ma'am, I did hear you.


"Yes," "No," and similar expressions are also "non-essential" or elements when positioned at the beginning of a sentence, such as in the examples above. That's why they have to be set off with comma (or commas).


But when "yes," "no," and similar expressions (such as "aye") are not at the beginning of the sentence, it is surely a part of either the subject or predicate of the sentence and it is, therefore, an essential element of the sentence. Examples:

The "Yes" votes won in the plebiscite.


THE "No" votes overwhelmed the "Yes" votes.

So, there, Sir, we've found your missing commas!

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