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I knew he was going to be there, and sure enough, he was there.

In this sentence, can I place comma before "sure enough" like this:

I knew he was going to be there, and, sure enough, he was there.

And if I can, what's the difference between these two sentences?

  • Orthography is not part of language, and not even of its written transposition, so that you could even write 'I, knew, he, was, going, to, be, there, and, sure, enough, he, was, there,' without changing in meaning. That's all. – Elberich Schneider Jul 31 '15 at 21:28
  • So both of them do not have any differece? – sooeithdk Jul 31 '15 at 21:34
  • Because the impression seems to be slightly different. – sooeithdk Jul 31 '15 at 21:56
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    @sooeithdk In what way do you perceive the impression to be different? – Tarius Jul 31 '15 at 22:39
  • @ElberichSchneider: isn't orthography the use of letters and spelling? The question is about punctuation. And do you really mean to say that using punctuation differently does not change the meaning of a sentence? – Margana Jul 31 '15 at 23:19
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I knew he was going to be there, and sure enough, he was there.

Assuming one follows the "rules", a parenthetical phrase should be set off by commas. Plus two sentences joined by "and" should have a comma ahead of the "and".

The problem is that one would normally consider "sure enough" to be parenthetical -- you can write "I knew he was going to be there, and he was there", and it makes sense, suggesting that "sure enough" is unnecessary and should be considered parenthetical. But you failed to use a comma between "and" and "sure" to mark the start of the parenthetical phrase. Without the comma the reader must work harder to parse the sentence.

By these criteria you should add a comma between "and" and "sure".

However, "and sure enough" is something of a set phrase/idiom, and one could argue that, as such, the meaning is easily recognized and the comma is not required (especially since, in normal speech, a pause before "sure" would probably not occur).

It's something of a judgment call.

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Both sentences are correct: in the second sentence the comma after the "and" opens up the parenthesis, in order to allow extra information to be added. However the meaning and the impression both remain the same.

See: Should there be a comma after 'and'?

In most cases punctuation will not change the meaning of a sentence, there are however exceptions, e.g. eats, shoots and leaves. Remove all the commas and the impression that you suddenly receive is no longer of a cowboy but a panda.

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