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So there is a subforum on Reddit that I have recently come across, and in the header it has the following text:

Dear Reddit, today, I messed up.

The issue that I see with this is that the comma after the word 'today' does not appear to be correctly placed.

This came up in a recent conversation with a friend of mine, in which I stated that the comma is incorrectly placed and instead it should be written like the following:

Dear Reddit, today I messed up.

However, he argues that the comma is correctly placed and does not need to be corrected. Would anyone be able to provide some information about this?

Thank you!

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  • Ah, a newcomer to TIFU, eh?
    – socrates
    May 12, 2016 at 8:04
  • Haha, yes! @socrates
    – N. A.
    May 12, 2016 at 8:05
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    Either one is fine. If you think of a comma as a pause, the first version just puts more emphasis on the word 'today'. I don't think it requires the emphasis though and it because of the 'dear' it doesn't look as nice as without the comma. I'd personally choose the latter.
    – Michael
    May 12, 2016 at 9:19
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    I would see this as a comma splice; a semicolon or colon I think would work better.
    – JDF
    May 12, 2016 at 9:44
  • @Michael ; a comma is not, and cannot be thought of as, a pause. There are specific rules of where and when to use a comma, and whether a sentence requires an emphasis is not part of these rules - nor is whether you think the comma looks "nice" or not in a sentence or what you would personally choose. Please bear that in mind.
    – Max
    May 18, 2016 at 16:02

1 Answer 1

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Your friend is right - the comma is correctly placed. 'Today' is an introductory prepositional phrase, meaning it should be set off with a comma.

The comma after "Reddit", interestingly, is also right, though doesn't sound so: "Dear Reddit" is an addressed subject, and addressed subjects should always be set off with a comma and nothing else.

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