Should you use a comma in constructions where two verbs appear adjacent to one another?

For example: To book, call a member of our sales team.

I have seen sentences like this without the comma and they don't look correct.

  • Yes, taht sentence would look strange without a comma, because I might read it with book as a noun. And I don't know what book-calling would be... – oerkelens Aug 26 '16 at 10:25
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    It's perfectly normal to put a comma after a clause-containing adjunct at the beginning of a sentence; in fact many people always do. – BillJ Aug 26 '16 at 10:25
  • Someone could possibly dredge up a 'rule' saying something like 'You must never put a comma between two verbs', but this type of sentence is very common and cries out for the comma. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 26 '16 at 10:32
  • The point is that the first two words are a prepositional phrase which which modifies the predicate of the sentence. Generally a comma would be called for here whether the phrase contained a verb or not. – Hot Licks Aug 26 '16 at 12:29
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    I wouldn't go along with that. The point is that it is a non-modifying supplementary adjunct in clause-initial position and outside clause structure, and hence best set off with a comma. "To" is not a preposition here, but a subordinator, a meaningless marker for VPs of infinitival clauses. So the first two words are not a PP, but an infinitival verb phrase heading a clausal adjunct, cf. "In order to book tickets for the show ...". – BillJ Aug 26 '16 at 13:43

Should you use a comma in constructions where two verbs appear adjacent to one another?

You are confusing an infinitive phrase that you think is a verb and the verb in the sentence as both being verbs. An infinitive phrase is not used as a verb. Let me explain.

To book, call a member of our sales team.

This is called a Simple Sentence, which means it has one subject and one verb. The subject is called the "understood subject = (you)" because the person or persons being addressed are not name or mentioned in the sentence:

To book, (you) call a member of our sales team.

"To book" is an infinitive phrase, which can be uses as an noun, adjective, or adverb. Here, in your sentence, it's an adverb modifying the verb "call," and like an adverb, it modifies the verb to answer, like an adverb would answer, "What?" Call to do or for what? To book whatever it is, a flight, reservation for a hotel/motel, etc.

An infinitive phrase, when at the beginning of a sentence may or may not take a comma, depending on what part of speech its being used as: noun, adjective, or adverb. If it's an adjective or adverb, it usually gets a comma for the sake of clarity, and if a noun, more than likely it is the subject of the sentence, so it needs no comma, like in this sentence:

To have lots of money is something that I dream about all the time.

You can use "To book" as a noun too:

To book a reservation is easy when you use your computer instead of calling.

Also, there are times when you can use a comma between verbs; an example would be a Compound Verb:

I read, ask questions, and take notes all the time.

I washed the dishes, mopped the floor, and sat down afterwards to drink a warm cup of coffee.

Sure, besides being a noun and adjective "book" is a verb, and it's used as a verb to create the infinitive phrase [the "infinitive' is the form of the verb as the first entry in a dictionary: book, booked, booking, have booked]:

The infinitive phrase:



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