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Commas and Because September 27, 2008

Filed under: grammar,thoughts — hey2blondie @ 11:48 am
Tags: ,

I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out.

— Oscar Wilde


This quote reminds me of my students and the comma. Once taught, they want to put the comma everywhere. I would like to know about commas and the word because. I know that you use a comma with because when it starts the sentence. So, do you place a comma before the word “because” when it’s in the middle of the sentence? If yes, why?Maybe an example would be nice.


3 Responses to “Commas and Because”

  1. John Kennedy-Farrell Says:

    My understanding about the use of a comma with because is as follows. Because is common as a beginning word of a dependent clause. If there is a dependent clause in a sentence, then there must be an independent clause for the sentence to be complete. If the dependent clause comes first, then there needs to be a comma after it and before the independent clause. If the independent clause comes first then, for whatever reason, there is no need for a comma. Clear as mud? Here are two examples.

    Because it was always shedding on the carpet, my dog was a constant headache.
    My dog was a constant headache because it was always shedding on the carpet.

    That’s the way I see it. 🙂

  2. davisbg Says:

    I explain it to my students this way:
    If I cut in front of my boss to walk in the door, I always say, “Excuse me.”

    If he cuts in front of me to go through, I wouldn’t expect him to say, “Excuse me.”

    I do so because I am his subordinate.

    Think of the comma as a way to say, “Excuse me.”
    The boss would be the independent clause. He has it together (most of the time).
    I would be the lowly subordinate clause in the example.

  3. Meg Nicholson Says:

    Here is a way to keep it simple! SC sentence, sentence. or Sentence sc sentence. In other words, dependent clause, independent clause. Independent clause dependent clause. I hope that this helps! I see so many students coming into my high school English classes misinformed!

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