The following quote has a comma after it:

There is, in fact, not much point in writing a novel unless you can show the possibility of moral transformation, or an increase in wisdom, operating in your chief character or characters.

But [this quote](www.goodreads.com/quotes/312171-there-is-in-fact-something-obscene-and-sinister-about-photography ) doesn't:

There is in fact something obscene and sinister about photography, a desire to imprison, to incorporate, a sexual intensity of pursuit.

When should you use a comma after "there is in fact"?

Is it necessary to put a comma after "there is in fact"?

  • 3
    It's just a stylistic choice, exactly the same as it would be with, for example, perhaps, or obviously. – FumbleFingers Oct 15 '16 at 16:52
  • 1
    I would prefer the commas, but the world won't end if they are omitted. – Hot Licks Oct 15 '16 at 17:45
  • 2
    It is necessary if you choose to include the comma before 'in fact'. 'In fact' is a pragmatic marker (of emphasis / reinforcing a negation), a parenthetical. The options of setting it off with dashes or brackets are not really available here; to misquote Barbara Wallraff, 'punctuating this sentence with these would be like using a C-clamp to hold a sandwich together.' There is, in fact, no need to set off such a mild interrupter with any form of punctuation (I chose to in this sentence as I consider the contrast achieved preferable in this case). – Edwin Ashworth Oct 15 '16 at 18:40
  • ... On reading through your example sentences, I'd probably punctuate exactly the way the authors have done, reflecting the pauses I'd insert in reading. (With extra commas, the second example seems too disjointed overall. And it gets harder to parse: dashes might be a better option '... – a desire to imprison, to incorporate – ...'). – Edwin Ashworth Oct 15 '16 at 18:46

I would omit "in fact" completely. It is one of those overused expressions that can unintentionally make you sound like a hack. If you re-examine your sentence, you will almost always find that "in fact" adds nothing to your meaning and can safely be purged.

The Unversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) has a useful handout that I have given to students before.

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