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7.13 The Comma, General

The comma is the most frequently misused punctuation mark, and many of the rules governing its use are vague and riddled with exceptions. The writer must frequently rely on personal judgment and should be guided by considerations of clarity more than by any particular set of rules.

Note that, as a general rule, commas interrupt the flow of a sentence and should therefore not be used where they do not contribute to clarity. A sentence requiring a large number of commas for clarity is probably a poorly constructed one in need of rephrasing. Yet the comma is also the mark most often incorrectly omitted.