Commas and Semi-Colons

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Grade Level
Middle School
Length of Time
45 minutes

This lesson plan is on commas and semi-colons. I have a study sheet that you can use to explain these punctuation marks. I also have a worksheet for you to use with her students.


Students will learn:
To understand commas and how to use them in sentences
To understand semi-colons and how to use them in sentences.

Materials Needed

Study Sheet on Commas and Semi-Colons


Commas are placed in sentences where there are two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction such as and, or, but, for, nor.

Let's look at the following sentences.

1. Would you like to go shopping or would you like to eat first?

2. Christy and Megan wanted to go outside but they needed to clean up their rooms first.

3. Christy and Megan liked going to middle-school and they liked the clubs they could join.

4. Penny and Sadey enjoy going to movies together but they also like spending time alone.

5. I enjoy reading and writing mystery stories.

Which sentences need commas? Be careful. Some of the sentences don't require commas.

If you said that Numbers 1, 2, and 4 require commas, you are right. In sentence number 3 and 5, there are not two complete sentences. Therefore, a comma is not required.


You use semi-colons between two independent clauses when there is not a coordinating conjunction.

Example: Penny was frightened; she entered her apartment.

You also use semi-colons between two independent clauses with a subordinate conjunction.

You need to remember this rule: Never use a comma before the word because in a sentence.

Let's look at these examples.

1. We can go to the mall; however, the dishes need to be done.

2. Will you come with me to the hospital because I'm not feeling very good?

You also use a semi-colon in a series if there are other punctuation marks such as commas.

Let's look at this example.

We ordered printer paper; two packages of good, quality paper, and two packages of cheaper paper; and pens; two packages of blue pens, two packages of red pens, and two packages of black pens.

Because there are commas separating the items purchased, you need semi-colons within the sentence to separate the two purchases.

Worksheet on Commas and Semi-Colons

Directions: For these sentences, you need to insert the commas and semi-colons in the correct places. Some of them may be correct. If that's the case, write the word correct beside the number.

1. If you would like to go to a movie with me please give me a call.

2. I enjoy shopping eating out reading mysteries watching television and writing.

3. While I work on the computer I like to watch television.

4. Penny Tippy Sadey and Cassie like to chew on ice cubes.

5. After we go to the bookstore would you like to get something to eat?

6. Christy told Megan that they could eat out and then they could go to the store.

7. We went to the school store after school and bought two pencils a blue one and a black one two pens a blue one and a red one and two packages of candy M & M's plain and M & M's peanuts.

It's time for everyone to put their books in their lockers and go to the lunchroom for lunch.

8. Christy and Megan like to sit under their favorite shade tree and talk but they also like to stay in their bedrooms and read their favorite mystery books or write in their journals.

9. I enjoy writing mystery stories however I enjoy reading them as well.

10. Suddenly Christy saw her dog Cassie dash across the street.


First you will explain how to use commas and semi-colons in sentences. I have examples of these punctuation marks for you to write on the board as you explain them.

Then, you will give them the worksheet that I have in this lesson. The worksheet will help you to determine if they understand how to use these punctuation marks.

After you grade the sheets, you will know what the students still don't understand. You can continue going over those areas until they do understand these punctuation marks.


100 to 90 = A

89 to 80 = B

79 to 70 = C

69 to 60 = D

Below 60 = F

You can grade them on the total number correct over the total possible.

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