Friday, November 5, 2010

Grammar Goody #8--Comma Rules, part II

Yippee! Another comma rule.

Put a comma after an introductory phrase or clause. To wit:

Although she never put on her shoes before taking out the garbage, her toes managed to survive nicely without breaks or sprains. 

Without that comma after garbage and before her toes, you'd have a really weird couple of words there:

...garbage her toes...

That clearly would not be good or clear.

This rule used to be hard and fast. Now it's softening somewhat so you will see this type of comma not used sometimes when the introductory clause or phrase is short. But I advise you to ALWAYS put it in. It's never going to be wrong if you do.

So, I would write a sentence like this next one WITH the comma (even though it's not considered wrong to do so without it in some circles):

Although short, the clause was effectively placed and had maximum impact.

The bottom line on introductory clauses or phrases, always set them off from the rest of the sentence with a comma.

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