Monday, August 8, 2011

Comma Before Because

Language log has a post regarding the fact that you can put a comma before the word "because" in literate formal written English, notwithstanding the belief of some grammar instructors that you may not.

But, I'm wondering if the real problem isn't the inaccuracy of the rule, but a misstatement of what the putative rule really says. It is one thing to say that the word "because" does not necessarily require a comma simply because it is present in a sentence, which may be the true rule, and another to say that it can never carry a comma even if another grammatical rule calls for it, which the examples cited in the rebuttal of the rule seem to imply (for example, the commas following ordinal introductions to sentences in Alice in Wonderland).

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