Posted by: episystechpubs | February 5, 2014

Editor’s Corner: Commas after introductory clauses, phrases, etc.

In a bit of a rush today, so today’s comma lesson doesn’t include my own examples. The following information was lovingly borrowed from the Purdue OWL.

Use commas after introductory a) clauses, b) phrases, or c) words that come before the main clause.

a. Common starter words for introductory clauses that should be followed by a comma include after, although, as, because, if, since, when, while.

While I was eating, the cat scratched at the door.

Because her alarm clock was broken, she was late for class.

If you are ill, you ought to see a doctor.

When the snow stops falling, we’ll shovel the driveway.

However, don’t put a comma after the main clause when a dependent (subordinate) clause follows it (except for cases of extreme contrast).

Incorrect: She was late for class, because her alarm clock was broken.

Incorrect: The cat scratched at the door, while I was eating.

Correct: She was still quite upset, although she had won the Oscar. (This comma use is correct because it is an example of extreme contrast.)

b. Common introductory phrases that should be followed by a comma include participial and infinitive phrases, absolute phrases, nonessential appositive phrases, and long prepositional phrases (over four words).

Having finished the test, he left the room.

To get a seat, you’d better come early.

After the test but before lunch, I went jogging.

The sun radiating intense heat, we sought shelter in the cafe.

c. Common introductory words that should be followed by a comma include yes, however, well.

Well, perhaps he meant no harm.

Yes, the package should arrive tomorrow morning.

However, you may not be satisfied with the results.

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

www.symitar.com

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