where does the comma go in a sentence that says: in the past 10 years I have mostly worked at schools and churches which has helped me.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Janus Bahs Jacquet, user66974, choster, Andrew Leach, Daniel Jun 17 '14 at 22:54

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    Welcome to EL&U. The comma can go in several places depending on what meaning you intend, which is not clear, nor have you indicated why you might be confused as to where it can go; please edit your post to address these issues. I encourage you to visit the help center for additional guidance. Our sister site for English Language Learners may also be of interest. – choster Jun 17 '14 at 20:30
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    @choster: Don't dump basic punctuation questions on ELL! Most otherwise perfectly fluent native speakers don't have much of a clue about proper use of commas either, and they're certainly not central to learning English. – FumbleFingers Jun 17 '14 at 21:18
  • @FumbleFingers My suggestion was not motivated by punctuation alone. – choster Jun 17 '14 at 21:30

A comma would be possible but by no means necessary (or even really desirable) after “years”; a comma is required after “churches.”


Read the sentence aloud, every where you would normally take a pause to breath, put a comma. That has helped me tremendously. But the direct answer would be In the past 10 years, I have mostly worked at schools and churches, which has helped me.

  • I don't think 'In the past 10 years' and 'I have mostly worked in schools and churches' should be treated as separate clauses. I wouldn't have a comma there. – Dave Magner Jun 17 '14 at 20:25
  • @Dave: There's no reason why Michael (or OP, or anyone else) shouldn't put a comma after "years". But the first sentence of this answer is worth a dozen different answers saying "I would [or wouldn't] have a comma here". – FumbleFingers Jun 17 '14 at 21:15
  • Different people take a pause to breathe in different places and for different reasons. A comma does not necessarily correspond to a pause, and a pause does not necessarily correspond to a comma. Not to mention that an asthmatic or a stutterer would have to put commas all over the place. This advice is too simplistic. Punctuation already follows just a handful of rather simple and clear rules. No need for approximations that are up to anyone's personal interpretation. Just go ahead and state the simple and clear rule. – RegDwigнt Jun 17 '14 at 21:35
  • @RegDwigнt: I don't know of any "simple and clear rule" saying whether there should or shouldn't be a comma after "years". I find it hard to imagine why I'd use one there, but very likely if the five words preceding it were, for example, a fifteen word clause functionally identical in terms of the syntax of the entire utterance, I probably would. Equally, I probably wouldn't have used the last comma in the preceding sentence if the relevant clause had simply been "much longer" (those two actual words, I mean :) – FumbleFingers Jun 17 '14 at 21:57

The comma goes before the word 'which'.

In the past 10 years I have mostly worked at schools and churches, which has helped me.

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