Monday, February 7, 2011

60-Second Syntax: Introductory Comma

60-Second Syntax is a quick look at some common mistakes in writing.

Please note: Different editors may follow different styles and rules.

We're talking commas again. This time, we're focusing on the introductory comma, or the comma that follows an introductory phrase.

An introductory phrase is a dependent clause, word, participial phrase or infinitive phrase at the beginning of a sentence.

Examples[i]:
  • "If the apocalypse comes, beep me."
  • “In every generation, there is a chosen one.”
  • “When I kiss you, you don't wake up from a deep sleep and live happily ever after.”
  • “Actually, I was thinking my daughter is going to kill you soon."
In very broad, basic terms, any word/phrase that comes before the subject of a sentence should have a comma after it.


[i] Examples courtesy of the genius writer that is Joss Whedon and his brainchild of brilliance: “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.”