Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Consider

I don't know how outdated it is though.

Should there be a comma before though, as in the following?

I don't know how outdated it is, though.


share|improve this question
    
add comment

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Though is used as an adverb in this case, applied to the verb is, therefore no comma is strictly necessary.

Saying this, I can easily imagine a brief pauses between is and though when speaking the sentence, hence a vocative comma is acceptable.

In other words, take your pick. If I can avoid a comma (as in this case), I usually will. It's not wrong either way though.

share|improve this answer
4  
(Oh dear, I think I subconsciously made a joke in the last sentence.) –  Noldorin Jan 17 '11 at 19:30
    
I agree with this, though I have to note that I'm seeing more and more places where authors/editors seem to be cutting down on commas and omitting them where they're not strictly required for meaning. I'm doing the same in my own writing and feel it reads a little cleaner (though I still THINK the commas into place when reading). –  bikeboy389 Jan 17 '11 at 19:50
    
Yeah, that doesn't surprise me too much. Commas can sometimes make sentences look more complicated than they are. –  Noldorin Jan 17 '11 at 20:05
    
'Though is used as an adverb in this case, applied to the verb is, therefore no comma is strictly necessary.' I think the comma is optional (and I prefer the pause it signals). I'd argue strongly against 'though modifies be', and I note the use of the alternative '[is] applied to the verb is' here. But this is so far from central adverbial behaviour that I'd label though here as a pragmatic marker / pragmatic particle showing mild contrast or reserved judgement. It's a discourse-detailing comment by the communicator, outside what the actual statement made in the matrix sentence is. –  Edwin Ashworth Jan 6 '13 at 15:20
add comment

I strongly prefer the second form, with the comma.

Say out loud, without a pause

I don't know how outdated it is-though

Nonsense-speak to me.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I'd use the comma, but modern style would probably omit it. There is a general tendency towards less punctuation. Look at Victorian novels, and then compare with modern prose - there is much less punctuation now. Or look at the King James Bible; that is rife with colons and semi-colons that would not appear nowadays, often not even 'demoted' to commas. Punctuation style has changed over time.

share|improve this answer
    
Yup, but we do shorter sentences too. All Twitter's fault, of course :) –  Benjol Jan 18 '11 at 12:01
add comment

I believe both are correct. In general, you would use the comma if you would pause at that point if you spoke it aloud.

share|improve this answer
add comment

protected by RegDwigнt May 15 '12 at 8:59

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.