Comma Activities & Games for High School

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

While commas may seem insignificant to many high school students, knowing how to use commas correctly can enhance writing in a number of ways. This lesson will equip you with games and activities designed to teach your students proper comma use.

What's the Deal with Commas?

Commas serve many, many purposes in written English. It would take several lessons to describe all of the circumstances and exceptions for proper and discretionary comma use; therefore, this lesson will focus on conventional comma use.

It can be helpful to review the comma knowledge your high schoolers currently possess before delving into the following games and activities. As you lead the class discussion, be sure to write relevant points and insights on the blackboard so that students can better visualize the topic.

Where's the Comma?

This activity asks students to insert missing commas into sentences. Feel free to add additional sentences to the ones provided below.

  1. Although he felt unable to truly compete Thomas decided to try out for the team.
  2. As you prepare for the final exam be sure to review your notes textbook and review questions.
  3. Advanced math studies can be challenging but for some students particularly those who enjoy numbers such courses can be enjoyable.
  4. I was told to call 555-5555 but before I do please tell me whom to ask for what department the person works in and how to address him or her.
  5. The common house cat despite being lovable can sometimes wreak havoc in an unoccupied home.

Comma Dictation

Begin this game by reading the following passage to the class.

Academic knowledge is vitally important for a number of reasons, some of which are not readily apparent. Whether one aspires to be a teacher, doctor, lawyer, or even a world leader, the ability to both absorb and retain knowledge is invaluable. A college education, which some people, particularly now, believe to be unnecessary, still serves a purpose in today's economy.

Next, tell students to listen again and to write down how many commas the passage contains. (The answer is 9.) You can extend this activity by reading aloud additional passages or by having students dictate your speech and adding commas where they hear them.

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