Have you ever been confused by two words which are spelled nearly the same, but have different meanings? Coma and comma are two such words. Their meanings do not overlap, even though there is only one letter’s difference in their spellings. One of these words refers to sentence punctuation. The other has multiple meanings, but none of them are related to grammar. Read on to find out which is which. In this article, I will compare coma vs. comma. I will use each word in a sentence to illustrate their proper uses. Plus, at the end, I will explain a useful trick to help you choose comma or coma in your writing.
The word coma originated in early 17th century (in botanical sense ‘tuft of hairs on seed’): via Latin from Greek komē ‘hair of the head’. The word comma originated in late 16th century (originally as a term in rhetoric denoting a group of words shorter than a colon via Latin from Greek komma ‘piece cut off, short clause’, from koptein ‘cut’.
Coma as noun:
Coma is used as a noun which means a prolonged state of deep unconsciousness, caused especially by severe injury or illness.
She went into a coma.
Coma is used in astronomy where it means a diffuse cloud of gas and dust surrounding the nucleus of a comet.
Comma as noun:
Comma is used as a noun and is a punctuation mark (,) indicating a pause between parts of a sentence or separating items in a list.
A minute interval or difference of pitch is also known as a comma.
A NEW mum miraculously survived after being struck down with a rare skin condition and falling into a coma days after giving birth to her daughter. (The Sun)
A woman woke up from an eight-month coma to reveal that her devoted boyfriend — hailed as a saint for staying by her side — was the one who caused her injuries in the first place. (The New York Post)
The coma acts like the comet’s atmosphere — it’s formed by the sun heating up ice on the surface that then sublimates into a gas and collects into a cloud around the comet. (The Business Insider)
At the time of the accident, Ms. Gossiaux had taken a semester off to recover from cochlear-implant surgery. She awoke from a coma unable to see or hear. (The Wall Street Journal)
When my kids bring me an essay to proofread, they may well up in tears if I mention a missing comma. (The Washington Post)
Coma or comma:
Coma and comma are both nouns, but they have completely different meaning. A coma is either a medical condition or a part of a celestial object. Writers use commas to punctuate sentences. Since comma and grammar both have a double m, you should have no trouble reserving comma for discussions of grammar and sentence structure.
If you find yourself unable to remember which word is which, you can always refer back to this article for a quick refresher.