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The comma , is a punctuation mark that appears in several variants in different languages. It has the same shape as an apostrophe or single closing quotation mark () in many typefaces, but it differs from them in being placed on the baseline of the text. Some typefaces render it as a small line, slightly curved or straight but inclined from the vertical. Other fonts give it the appearance of a miniature filled-in figure 9 on the baseline.

The comma is used in many contexts and languages, mainly to separate parts of a sentence such as clauses and items in lists, particularly when there are three or more items listed. The word comma comes from the Greek κόμμα (kómma), which originally meant a cut-off piece, specifically in grammar, a short clause.[1][2]

A comma-shaped mark is used as a diacritic in several writing systems and is considered distinct from the cedilla. In Ancient Greek, the rough and smooth breathings (ἁ, ἀ) appear above the letter. In Latvian, Romanian, and Livonian, the comma diacritic appears below the letter, as in ș.

For the notation ⟨x⟩ and /x/ used in this article, see grapheme and phoneme respectively.

The development of punctuation is much more recent than the alphabet.

In the 3rd century BC, Aristophanes of Byzantium invented a system of single dots (théseis) at varying levels, which separated verses and indicated the amount of breath needed to complete each fragment of the text when reading aloud.[3] The different lengths were signified by a dot at the bottom, middle, or top of the line. For a short passage, a komma in the form of a dot ⟨·⟩ was placed mid-level. This is the origin of the concept of a comma, although the name came to be used for the mark itself instead of the clause it separated.

The mark used today is descended from a /, a diagonal slash known as virgula suspensiva, used from the 13th to 17th centuries to represent a pause. The modern comma was first used by Aldus Manutius.[4][5]

Moreover, the mark is used to separate the words, the phrases, and the clauses in a sentence, to help it to be understood: to divide a sentence into easil

The comma is used in many contexts and languages, mainly to separate parts of a sentence such as clauses and items in lists, particularly when there are three or more items listed. The word comma comes from the Greek κόμμα (kómma), which originally meant a cut-off piece, specifically in grammar, a short clause.[1][2]

A comma-shaped mark is used as a diacritic in several writing systems and is considered distinct from the cedilla. In Ancient Greek, the rough and smooth breathings (ἁ, ἀ) appear above the letter. In Latvian, Romanian, and Livonian, the comma diacritic appears below the letter, as in ș.

For the notation ⟨x⟩ and /x/ used in this article, see grapheme and phoneme respectively.

The development of punctuation is much more recent than the alphabet.

In the 3rd century BC, Aristophanes of Byzantium invented a system of single dots (théseis) at varying levels, which separated verses and indicated the amount of breath needed to complete each fragment of the text when reading aloud.[3] The different lengths were signified by a dot at the bottom, middle, or top of the line. For a short passage, a komma in the form of a dot ⟨·⟩ was placed mid-level. This is the origin of the concept of a comma, although the name came to be used for the mark itself instead of the clause it separated.

The mark used today is descended from a /, a diagonal slash known as virgula suspensiva, used from the 13th to 17th centuries to represent a pause. The modern comma was first used by Aldus Manutius.[4][5]

Moreover, the mark is used to separate the words, the phrases, and the clauses in a sentence, to help it to be understood: to divide a sentence into easily assimilated bite-sized pieces. However, there are many other functions of the comma, such as 'setting of questions', 'emphasizing point of view', etc.[6]

Uses in English

Various other Unicode characters combine commas or comma-like figures with other characters, and are not shown here..

Languages other than Western European

Modern Greek uses the same Unicode comma for its kómma (κόμμα)[34] and it is officially romanized as a Latin comma,[35] but it has additional roles owing to its conflation with the former hypodiastole, a curved interpunct used to disambiguate certain homonyms. The comma therefore functions as a silent letter in a handful of Greek words, principally distinguishing ό,τι (ó,ti, "whatever") from ότι (óti, "that").[34]

The enumeration or ideographic comma — Various other Unicode characters combine commas or comma-like figures with other characters, and are not shown here..

Languages other than Western European

Modern Greek uses the same Unicode comma for its kómma (κόμμα)[34] and it is officially romanized as a Latin comma,[35] but it has additional roles owing to its conflation with the former hypodiastole, a curved interpunct used to disambiguate certain homonyms. The comma therefore functions as a silent letter in a handful of Greek words, principally distinguishing ό,τι (ó,ti, "whatever") from ότι (óti, "that").[34]

The enumeration or ideographic comma — U+3001 Modern Greek uses the same Unicode comma for its kómma (κόμμα)[34] and it is officially romanized as a Latin comma,[35] but it has additional roles owing to its conflation with the former hypodiastole, a curved interpunct used to disambiguate certain homonyms. The comma therefore functions as a silent letter in a handful of Greek words, principally distinguishing ό,τι (ó,ti, "whatever") from ότι (óti, "that").[34]

The enumeration or ideographic comma — U+3001 The enumeration or ideographic comma — U+3001 IDEOGRAPHIC COMMA — is used in Chinese, Japanese punctuation, and somewhat in Korean punctuation. In the People's Republic of China and in North/South Korea, this comma (t 頓號, s 顿号, pdùnhào) is usually used only to separate items in lists, while in Japan it is the more common form of comma (読点, r tōten, lit. "clause mark"). In documents that mix Japanese and Latin scripts, the full-width comma (U+FF0C FULLWIDTH COMMA) is used; this is the standard form of comma (t 逗號, s 逗号, pdòuhào) in China. Since East Asian typography permits commas to join clauses dealing with certain topics or lines of thought, commas may separate subjects and predicates and constructions that would be considered a "comma splice" in English are acceptable and commonly encountered.

Korean punctuation uses both commas and interpuncts for lists.

In Unicode 5.2.0 "numbers with commas" (U+1F101 🄁 through U+1F10A 🄊 ) were added to the Enclosed Alphanumeric Supplement block for compatibility with the ARIB STD B24 character set.[36][37]

The comma in the Arabic script (used by Arabic, Urdu, and Persian, etc.) is inverted, upside-down: ⟨،⟩ (U+060C ، ARABIC COMMA), in order to distinguish it from the Arabic diacritic ḍammahُ⟩, representing the vowel /u/, which is similarly comma-shaped.[38] In Arabic texts, Western-styled comma (٫) is used as a decimal point.

Reversed comma (U+2E41 REVERSED COMMA) is used in Sindhi when written in Arabic script. It is different from the standard Arabic comma.

Hebrew script is also written from right to left. However, Hebrew punctuation includes only a regular comma (,).

Dravidian languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam also use the punctuation mark in similar usage to that of European languages with similar spacing.[39]

In the common character encoding systems Unicode and ASCII, character 44 (0x2C) corresponds to the comma symbol. The HTML numeric character reference is ,.

In many computer languages commas are used as a field delimiter to separate arguments to a function,[40] to separate elements in a In many computer languages commas are used as a field delimiter to separate arguments to a function,[40] to separate elements in a list, and to perform data designation on multiple variables at once.

In the C programming language the comma symbol is an operator which evaluates its first argument (which may have side-effects) and then returns the value of its evaluated second argument. This is useful in for statements and macros.

In Smalltalk and APL, the comma operator is used to concatenate collections, including strings. In APL, it is also used monadically to rearrange the items of an array into a list.

In Prolog, the comma is used to denote Logical Conjunction ("and").

The comma-separated values (CSV) format is very commonly used in exchanging text data between database and spreadsheet formats.

In French, a cedilla (not a comma) is used beneath a ⟨c⟩, producing ⟨ç⟩, to indicate that the ⟨c⟩ is pronounced like /s/ (a 'soft c') and not like /k/ (a 'hard c'): français, garçon, açaï. Depending on the knowledge and resources of the typist or typesetter, the ⟨ç⟩ is irregularly conserved on French words used in English, like façade.

The comma is used as a diacritic mark in Romanian under ⟨s⟩ (⟨Ș⟩, ⟨ș⟩), and under ⟨t⟩ (⟨Ț⟩, ⟨ț⟩). A cedilla is occasionally used instead of it, but this is technically incorrect. The symbol ⟨d̦⟩ ('d with comma below') was used as part of the Ro

The comma is used as a diacritic mark in Romanian under ⟨s⟩ (⟨Ș⟩, ⟨ș⟩), and under ⟨t⟩ (⟨Ț⟩, ⟨ț⟩). A cedilla is occasionally used instead of it, but this is technically incorrect. The symbol ⟨d̦⟩ ('d with comma below') was used as part of the Romanian transitional alphabet (19th century) to indicate the sounds denoted by the Latin letter ⟨z⟩ or letters ⟨dz⟩, where derived from a Cyrillic ѕ (⟨ѕ⟩, /dz/). The comma and the cedilla are both derivative of ⟨ʒ⟩ (a small cursive ⟨z⟩) placed below the letter. From this standpoint alone, ⟨ș⟩, ⟨ț⟩, and ⟨d̦⟩ could potentially be regarded as stand-ins for /sz/, /tz/, and /dz/ respectively.

In Latvian, the comma is used on the letters ⟨ģ⟩, ⟨ķ⟩, ⟨ļ⟩, ⟨ņ⟩, and historically also ⟨ŗ⟩, to indicate palatalization. Because the lowercase letter ⟨g⟩ has a descender, the comma is rotated 180° and placed over the letter. Although their Adobe glyph names are 'letter with comma', their names in the Unicode Standard are 'letter with a cedilla'. They were introduced to the Unicode standard before 1992 and, per Unicode Consortium policy, their names cannot be altered.

In Livonian, whose alphabet is based on a mixture of Latvian and Estonian alphabets, the comma is used on the letters ⟨ḑ⟩, ⟨ļ⟩, ⟨ņ⟩, ⟨ŗ⟩, ⟨ț⟩ to indicate palatalization in the same fashion as Latvian, except that Livonian uses ⟨ḑ⟩ and ⟨ț⟩ represent the same palatal plosive phonemes which Latvian writes as ⟨ģ⟩ and ⟨ķ⟩ respectively.

In Czech and Slovak, the diacritic in the characters ⟨ď⟩, ⟨ť⟩, and ⟨ľ⟩ resembles a superscript comma, but it is used instead of a caron because the letter has an ascender. Other ascender letters with carons, such as letters ⟨ȟ⟩ (used in Finnish Romani and Lakota) and ⟨ǩ⟩ (used in Skolt Sami), did not modify their carons to superscript commas.

In 16th-century Guatemala, the archaic letter cuatrillo with a comma (⟨Ꜯ⟩ and ⟨ꜯ⟩) was used to write Mayan languages.[41]