Essential Comma Control: An Online Tutorial

Mr. Maite

(special thanks to all the sites represented in this tutorial)


STOP!  Before you go any further, please remember to READ everything.  This tutorial is completely based on reading and understanding all the material at each step.  Thank you!


This tutorial is intended to strengthen the most prominent weakness in the grammar of student writing: comma use and run-ons.  Simply follow the tutorial to it’s completion. Go at your own pace and take notes as needed, which may be checked.  Enjoy.


Hint: For faster loading and better PowerPoint performance, right click on the PowerPoint files and download them to your L: Drive.  Plus, you’ll have them for exam review too!


1. Before any of this will make sense, you have to make sure you understand independent and dependent (subordinate) clauses.  We have reviewed these several times, but it won’t hurt to look at them one more time.  Use the link below to review these clauses.  There’s a lot of extra information in this PowerPoint – just make sure you understand the difference between independent and dependent (subordinate) clauses.


2. Now, you are ready to for a comprehensive Power Point presentation on commas.  Keep in mind that we’ll be concentrating more on the Sentence Level commas so pay special attention to the commas with introductory elements, with dependent clauses, and to fix run-ons & comma splices.




3. Comma Quizzes: Once you have completed the Comma Presentation, take each of the following online quizzes – simply click on each link to complete each quiz.  You’ll notice that these concentrate on Sentence Level commas since these are the most common errors found in student writing at our level.  Try to do them in order as they become increasingly difficult.  Use this worksheet to record your scores and keep track of your progress.


            Quiz 1: -- introductory elements

            Quiz 2: -- to avoid a run-on

            Quiz 3: -- applying commas, fill in the blank

            Quiz 4: -- authentic application with real paragraph


4. Now, to hone your skills a bit more and actually make them useful, you need to review run-ons again.  So, use the link below to view a Power Point Presentation on Avoiding Run-ons.  Again, go at your own pace and take notes as needed.




5. Sentence Punctuation Quizzes: Ah, now we ready to master the most common comma error in student writing.  Good.  Try a few more online quizzes to fully master the punctuation of sentences.  Just use the links below and use this worksheet to record your scores and keep track of your progress.


            Quiz 1: -- recognizing run-ons and fixes

            Quiz 2: -- same as above

Quiz 3: -- fixing comma splices

            Quiz 4: -- same as above

            Quiz 5: -- overall run-on review with explanations


6. Use the two PowerPoint Presentations below to further develop your skills with sentences by giving you some style choices when combining sentences. - the semicolon

   - the colon


7. Ok, now that you’ve studied sentences and punctuation, print each of the following worksheets and complete them.  When you are done, you may return to each link to view the answers.  Keep your corrected printout to hand in later.





All Done? Go put all that expertise to use by learning about the most important writing skill you can have to develop your sentence style and clarity: Sentence Combining.