In the example above, the direct question must be set off from the rest of the sentence. In other words, if the As appears before the main clause -like in your example- it needs a comma. Writing, grammar, and communication tips for your inbox. Americans are not. On the other hand, when a direct question appears within a longer sentence, it should always be set off by a comma. Slightly more complex is the question of whether you should use a comma before "while." (As the highlighted clause is required is define "a comb," there is no comma before "which." Tweet Pin It. 17 Comments . In the temporal sense, while describes something that is happening at the same time as something else. Tone vs. If it appears after the main clause -Like in Jake's Example- there is no need for the comma. He doesn’t know how to solve integrals although he is a mathematician. In the temporal sense, while describes something that is happening at the same time as something else. Can anyone explain the difference? When it means “whereas”, it should be separated by a comma: More often than not, “while” means “during the time when” or “at the same time as”, and in this sense it virtually always provides essential information and is not separated by a comma. None of the examples you gave require a comma. In other words, it depends on how important the phrase is to the overall meaning of the sentence. Could you tell me, which is your favorite? I will have to get to your post later, @Seven Crowns, in order to address the complexities here. While there’s some degree of flexibility in how commas are used, it’s important to have a clear grasp of the rules. While I was eating, the cat scratched at the door. Oldest. “While” is somewhat more complicated because it has two different meanings. Reply. In this sense, it means “whereas” or “although.”. Most people don’t know how to solve integrals; what makes the fact relevant is that the person in question is a mathematician. Also, the way that Jake has it in his example, is that he wrote an Appositive-restrictive phrase. While my sister prefers key lime pie, I prefer chocolate cake. That’s why two sentences can look structurally similar while … He doesn’t know how to solve integrals despite being a mathematician. It’s almost always optional to put a comma before and in a list. Unless you practice law, you don’t have to worry about this. "Stick to your guns, Lola," he replied happily, while pinching both of my cheeks. NONFINITE (REDUCED) CLAUSE; A clause followed by before, after, when, while or since can be complemented by a nonfinite gerund clause (1) if the reference —person, animal, entity doing the action— remains clear (i.e., the subject of both clauses is the same¹) and (2) if no other important information is lost.. MAIN CLAUSE: TEMPORAL PHRASE: SUBJECT'S ACTION IS MODIFIED Before we reveal which sentence needs a comma and which doesn’t, let’s go back to a term from the beginning of the show: participial phrase. T tanguatlay Member Mary talked about her past relationship problems with her son, while Herman shared honestly his marital woes. You also need a comma before an interrogative “which” when the word appears in dialogue. wrong This sentence is correct while the sentence below is wrong. I never know when to use a comma before with and when not. Exercises . )I sent Elaine a basket full of apricots, mangoes, bananas, and dates. It will teach you how to avoid mis­takes with com­mas, pre­pos­i­tions, ir­reg­u­lar verbs, and much more. A restrictive clause limits the meaning of a sentence when you remove it. Read more about commas in lists. While the price of milk has stayed the same, the price of eggs is rising. While is a subordinating conjunction, but in some circumstances it can act as an adverb of concession as well. Compare: Remember: When contrasting two facts, use a comma. I know where he is - the 'adverb' use of "where". Littleweezyanna 1 year ago Nice. In these circumstances it should have a comma before it. Don’t place a comma before which when which is part of a prepositional phrase. But if you’re using while to mean “whereas,” you still need to put a comma somewhere. A lot of people have strong feelings about putting a comma before and in a list. Is there a rule you can refer me to? Read more about the Oxford Comma. In this sense, it means “whereas” or “although.” Or you could use no commas at all: Cheung says that while it was very easy to describe Chinese consumers 10 … But there, it'd mean *on the contrary or on the other hand I've been taught that while proceeded by a comma means "whereas", and that when it is not, is interpreted to mean "at the same time". While/whilst can be used for contrast, OR to mean "at the same time". Comma Before And in Lists. English language rules for comma usage can get complicated. 1. In other words, there is virtually never a comma before “that”, unless there is some other reason to use a comma, such as another non-essential subordinate clause ending there. The rule of thumb is: When you contrast two things, use a comma. “Whereas” is typically used to contrast two things: Notice how the clause after “whereas” is a non-essential piece of additional information (“I am very tall” means exactly the same, no matter what the “whereas” clause says). I decided to take a nap under my desk while everyone else was in the meeting. Note that a dependent clause should be separated from an independent clause by a comma only when the dependent clause precedes the independent one. “Whereas” is also used in legal documents in the sense of “because of the fact that”. It's perfectly fine to put a comma BEFORE "while" in that sentence: Cheung says that, while it was very easy to describe Chinese consumers 10 years ago, it's not so easy today. If it does, it is not preceded by a comma, and if it doesn’t, it must be preceded by a comma. One meaning is related to time. It simply talks about which/what place. [essential, no comma]. I prefer chocolate cake while my sister prefers key lime pie. Common starter words for introductory clauses that should be followed by a comma include after, although, as, because, if, since, when, while. The megaproject went billions of dollars over budget, as the cost of cement was unexpectedly increased. There are some cases where you know you should use a comma – such as when separating items in a list – but there are other times when you might be unsure whether or not a comma is needed.. The comma should go between the things being contrasted or happening at the same time. However, commas are also used before subordinate conjunctions when the subordinate clause is non-essential to the meaning of the sentence. Therefore, I am confused whether to use a comma before while in the following sentence. You usually put a comma before and when it’s connecting two independent clauses. However, there are usually better ways to express the same idea, such as: By the way, if you haven’t read my guide on how to avoid the most common mistakes in English, make sure to check it out; it deals with similar topics. The other meaning of while indicates a contrast. Use a comma with “As” as a conjunction As a conjunction, “as” is equivalent to “because”. When it’s used as a preposition (e.g., some flowers for my mom) you probably don’t need a comma before it, unless it’s in a list or some other structure that needs commas. I didn’t know that you were here. Comma Rules Chart . Here is an example of "which" without a comma: Experience is a comb which nature gives us when we are bald. If you are ill, you ought to see a doctor. If you can replace while with as, then it shouldn't have a comma before it. Littleweezyanna 1 year ago Comma,comma,comma,comma comma chameleon. As you may have noticed, sometimes commas flank a phrase beginning with “such as.” On other occasions, “such as” appears without a comma. There’s no single rule that applies to all situations. Even though the Oxford Comma is named after the Oxford University Press (who still use it), most Brits do not use an Oxford Comma. Let’s discuss them in more detail. While. The price of eggs is rising, while the price of milk has stayed the same. When to put a comma before “while” How to fix a comma splice. Is a comma before "while" optional? Commas don't just signify pauses in a sentence — precise rules govern when to use this punctuation mark. It goes at the beginning of the second clause and is usually separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma. And: The Blue Ridge mountains are beautiful, while the Rockies are grand. I wanted to ensure I was correct not to include a comma in the following sentence . eg He surprised her with an engagement ring. It depends on how 'tightly coupled' the will phrase is to what precedes it. Inline Feedbacks. Comma before 'while' ? Note the comma before WITH. On the other hand is not a conjunction. Although he is a mathematician, he doesn’t know how to solve integrals. My parents died during the time when I was still at school. So: I can't study while my little brother is beating on his drum. “While” is some­what more com­pli­cated be­cause it has two dif­fer­ent mean­ings. Let’s order the curtains while they’re still on sale. It can also go in the middle of the … Because her alarm clock was broken, she was late for class. Example: When I was younger, I had a cat named Whiskers the Magical Cat. Subscribe. In the latter case, while must be preceded by a comma. I decided to take a nap under my desk, while everyone else was in the meeting. One meaning is related to time. Because clauses starting with “whereas”, “while”, “although”, and similar conjunctions are just special cases of this rule. This depends on whether the subordinate clause contains essential information that cannot be removed from the sentence. Don’t use a comma before which when it’s used to pose an indirect question. The comma was used here because a subordinate clause that precedes the main clause is always followed by a comma, no matter how essential it is. Put it at the end of the clause that while introduces. If the dependent clause follows the independent one, no comma is places before if, whether, because, although, since, when, while, unless, etc. Do use a comma when “as” can be substituted with “because”. It is possible (but very uncommon) to write such a subordinate clause after the main clause, in which case it makes sense to omit the comma: The subordinate clause is, arguably, essential in this case. (Guideline: Use a comma before a coordinator—and, but, yet, or, nor, for, so—that links two main clauses; do not use a comma before a coordinator that links two words or phrases. We have used "who" because using "which" without a comma is an unpopular practice (especially in the US). When used with a restrictive clause, you don’t need to put a comma before that. We also use where as a conjunction and there it takes a comma. Put a comma after one of those bad boys to separate it from a complete thought. It's an awkward sentence but that's beside the point. I spend most of the journey deliberating on my decision to come home with Mark, while he repeatedly draws breath as if intending to say something but deciding against it. Do use a comma before while when you mean “whereas” or “although.” When while is used as a conjunction, it has two meanings. The other meaning of while indicates a contrast. A nonrestrictive clause doesn't. When it is used to provide supplementary information that partly negates what has been said previously (in which case it can basically be replaced by “but”), you should use a comma: However, “although” can be used at the beginning of a sentence to introduce a fact that makes the rest of the sentence somewhat surprising, e.g. Use a comma before while in the middle of a sentence when you mean “whereas” or “although.”. The price of eggs is rising while the price of milk has stayed the same. “Although” also has two meanings. When “for” is used as a conjunction between two clauses (“for” is the F in FANBOYS) then you need a comma before it. €œWhereas, ” you still need to put a comma in the following.. 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