University North Central Writing Center Handout
need commas to separate introductory material from the
clause. These commas are placed
If you have read the book, you may find the
Clue: Does the sentence start with an adverb such as
To stay in shape, athletes must exercise
Does the sentence start with an infinitive form
the verb (to + verb), a gerund (verb + ing),
a preposition (to, on, around, etc.)?
Example: However, he may not return until tomorrow.
commas after introductory clauses, phrases, and words...
...if the introduction is long (are there more than five or
words before the main clause?)
...if there is a distinct voice pause (when you read the sentence aloud,
do you find your voice pausing a moment after the introductory part?)
...if it is necessary to avoid confusion (is there a possibility that you
might have to read the sentence more than once to have it make sense?)