I have always refrained from using a comma before "when" but I heard that it is appropriate in certain circumstances. I can't picture a scenario where a comma is necessary before "when" to clarify the meaning of a sentence.

Thanks for the help.

1 Answer 1


If the when clause is restrictive, don't use a comma:

Do you remember that birthday party when I got drunk?

I've been to lots of birthday parties, but I'm talking about one in particular when I had too much to drink. On the other hand:

Drive me home from the party under two conditions, when I'm drunk or when I start to sing

has a compound appositive naming the two conditions, and appositives are preceded by a comma.

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