WORDS SET OFF BY COMMAS
after, although, as, as if, as soon as, as though, because, before, even if, even though, if,
in order that, in that, no matter how, once, since, so, than, so that, that, though, unless,
until, when, whether, where, wherever, whatever
When one clause has less emphasis or is less important in a sentence, it is subordinate to
or dependent on the other clause. The above listed words are common marker words that
indicate this relationship. They are called
If a subordinating conjunction begins the sentence, you need a comma;
otherwise, you don’t.
Because it snowed last night, school was closed this morning.
School was closed this morning because it snowed last night.
When you finish, put your paper in the basket on the teacher’s desk.
Put your paper in the basket on the teacher’s desk when you finish.
Unless you explain step-by-step, I won’t understand what you want me to do.
I won’t understand what you want me to do unless you explain step-by-step.
COMMAS WITH NONRESTRICTIVE OR RESTRICTIVE WORDS
OR WORD GROUPS
Follow these steps if you have trouble deciding whether a word or word group should be
set off with a comma or commas:
Identify the word or word group that may need to be set off with commas. Pay
special attention to words that appear between the subject and verb.