Commas and Essential Elements

For Starters: What is an Essential Element

Instead of looking at how to use commas in relation to essential elements, this is how not to use commas in relation to essential elements. Don’t you love double Greek, or is that double Dutch?

Now, “essential elements” is a term that covers all manner of sentence parts. These include the subject-verb relationship, adjectives, and so forth. This rule is very simple if you keep the basic sentence unit in mind.


  1. Every sentence has a main clause and the meaning of that main clause should not be broken.
  2. This is exactly the same idea as the sentence unit we mentioned when starting the posts on commas usage.
  3. Basic sentence unit at the very least: subject and verb.
  4. Do not break the sentence unit.
  5. Do not break the main clause.
  6. Sometimes a sentence = a main clause. Other times a sentence = main clause + other clause/s and/or phrase/s.

See if it makes sense not to break the basic unit:

  • She is, not as young as she used to be.
    The subject is separated from the predicate in this sentence.
  • The white, beaches are enticing.
    The adjective is separated from the noun it is describing.
  • Those, who emigrated with him, live elsewhere.
    The phrase here is essential to the sentence meaning, so it should not be enclosed by commas.

Basically, it is necessary to keep the main clause’s meaning intact. This can apply to even really long sentences.

Test yourselves in the next blog.

By the way, let me know by leaving a comment if this is even vaguely making sense :).