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Use Commas After Conjunctive Adverbs and Transitional Phrases at the Beginnings of Sentences

"Use Commas after Conjunctive Adverbs and Transitional Phrases at the Beginnings of Sentences" was written by Joseph Moxley, University of South Florida

Although our modern style calls for using as few commas as possible, you should generally place a comma after conjunctive adverbs and transitional words because they modify the entire sentence:

  • Nevertheless, we must push forward with our plans.
  • In other words, you're fired. Hey, I'm just kidding.

Because commas cause readers to pause in their reading, you want to use them sparingly. Although logic would suggest that it makes sense to follow coordinating conjunctions with commas, convention does not call for this usage unless the conjunction is followed by an introductory phrase. Thus, it would he inappropriate to write:

  • Yet, I think we should go ahead as planned.

When a short phrase follows the conjunction at the beginning of the sentence, however, it is appropriate--although not absolutely necessary--to place a comma after the conjunction:

  • Yet, as I mentioned yesterday, I think we should go ahead as planned.

 

Other comma resources:

Photos on this page courtesy of University of Pennsylvania, University Communications.

Plugs Play Pedagogy Blog

"

Kyle Stedman is assistant professor of English at Rockford University, where he teaches first-year composition, digital rhetoric, and creative writing. He studies rhetorics of sound, intellectual property, and fan studies. On QuizUp, his highest scores are in Lost (the TV show)..."

Oscar Wilson's draft card
Episode 10: Exploring the Past
Plugs, Play, Pedagogy Podcast
  Transcript available here as a Google Doc full of links. If you see edits I should make or links I should add, go ahead and leave a comment. Part 1: Researching My House I'm obsessed with my 99-year-old house. So I made a 27-minute audio piece exploring my relationship to it. That's it. Music you hear in this segment, all estimated to be from 1916 (the year the house was built): William Thomas, “Rose of No Man’s Land” Bresnen, “You’re a Dangerous Girl” Don Richardson, “Arkansas Traveler” Imperial Quartet of Chicago, “...
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