Commas with Essential and Non-Essential Elements

When adding words or phrases that rename nouns in the sentence, commas only need to be placed around elements that are non-essential, or elements that do not change the meaning of the sentence.

Examples of Commas with Essential and Non-Essential Elements

Some examples of commas offsetting non-essential elements would be the following:

Non-Essential: Maya Angelou, a renowned American poet, was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1928.

Essential: Renowned American poet Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1928.

Non-Essential: Led Zeppelin, an English rock band, is best known for their song “Stairway to Heaven.”

Essential:English rock band Led Zeppelin is best known for their song “Stairway to Heaven.”

Non-Essential: Chicken and waffles, a favorite American soul food dish, is a popular cuisine in Baltimore, Maryland.

Essential:The favorite American soul food dish chicken and waffles is a popular cuisine in Baltimore, Maryland.

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