I'm not sure if a comma should go in the following sentence:

I used to feed the ducks there when I was a kid, growing up in Ireland.

I also have another sentence similar to this:

I'm at the park, trying to get some exercise.

Would comma go in those two sentences? Why or why not?

  • The first sentence doesn't sound too well put together (I'm not speaking of the grammar). I'd certainly use a comma with your second example, though not necessarily with I'm trying to get some exercise at the park. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 9 '16 at 22:13

No comma is required in the first sentence. In fact, the comma you have seems to put a bad break into the sentence.

In the second sentence, the comma is OK, because it doesn't hurt; it comes as a natural pause in the rhythm of the sentence (which could be two separate sentences, or two clauses joined by "and"):

I'm at the park and trying to get some exercise. I'm at the park. I'm trying to get some exercise.

As always with commas, their use can't be proven like a math formula. Some just seem better than others. We use many times fewer commas today than in previous generations.

  • +1, and I might add that the "correctness" of a comma isn't wholly determined within a single sentence. A clever prose stylist can use commas to balance or contrast the ideas of adjacent sentences - as well as to highlight the importance of a phrase to the point being made. – ArchContrarian Sep 4 '17 at 23:22
  • ... for example, your first sentence seems ungainly on its own, but it might be fine followed by, "Now, as a pensioner in Hawaii, ...". And so on. – ArchContrarian Sep 4 '17 at 23:27

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