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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

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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)..."

Attack of the Cloned Teaching Statements
Plugs, Play, Pedagogy Podcast
  Welcome to Episode 2 of Plugs, Play, Pedagogy: Attack of the Cloned Teaching Statements! As always, you can listen here at Writing Commons, subscribe on Stitcher or iTunes, or download in multiple formats from Podigee.  Produced and recorded by Kyle Stedman (plugsplaypedagogy@writingcommons.org; @kstedman), assistant professor of English at Rockford University, in cooperation with KairosCast and Writing Commons. Transcript available here. In search of answers to why teaching philosophy statement...
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