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I asked a question like this before, but I didn't give my reasoning. I'm asking about the comma after "and," "but," "or," "then." I have the idea that if you begin a sentence with either one of those words, and if it's related to the sentence before it, you should place a comma after it. Here's what I mean:

Instead of writing this:

"I went to school, and I talked to my friend Daniel."

You could write it as this:

"I went to school. And, I talked to my friend Daniel."

In that sentence, I feel like by adding a comma after "and" would make the sentence seem related to the one previous said. Here's another example:

Instead of writing this:

"She's going to the store first, and then she'll pick up the kids from school."

You could write it as this:

"She's going to the store first. Then, she'll pick up the kids from school."

My question is asking if this would be a good a good thing to do, add a comma after a coordinating conjunction when it begins at the beginning of a sentence and if it's related to what was said before. Two more example:

Instead of writing this:

"She used to work at a restaurant, but now she works as a teacher."

You could write it as this:

"She used to work at a restaurant. Now, she works as a teacher."

Instead of writing this:

"You can choose to go to the park, or you could choose to go to the beach.*"

You could write it as:

"You can choose to go to the park. Or, you could choose to go to the beach."

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    Using 'Also,' to start a sentence is acceptable, so why bother with dubious possibilities (And,)? Starting a sentence with 'And' without the comma is virtually standard nowadays. The other second sentences seem quite acceptable (with or without the commas), at least in informal settings, to me. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 12 '16 at 21:32
  • In every case you've listed, the style would be enhanced without the comma. Just because you're "losing" a comma by putting the clauses into separate sentences doesn't mean that comma should persist somewhere after the separation. – Robusto Dec 12 '16 at 22:37
  • They do not mean the same thing. If the OP "feels" like adding a comma it's because in the particular case, the OP's intention is probably the case where the comma is needed. The comma there signifies "what's more" so: "I went to (the) school. And, (what's more,) I talked to my friend Daniel." Not all sentences above, not all contexts use the comma in this structure. HTH. – Kris Oct 9 '17 at 6:48
  • "I went to school, and I talked to my friend Daniel" or "I went to school. And, I talked to my friend Daniel" fail to prove your point.? No comma makes a useful difference. Starting with a conjunction denies the meaning of “conjunction”. The “store/school” example is better but still not good. Try those sentences without commas and explain the results. Can you post your views on “restaurant/teacher”? "You can choose to go to the park, or you could choose to go to the beach" can't work. “Can” and “could” don't match and wrongly forcing “Or” in there won’t help. – Robbie Goodwin Dec 6 '18 at 0:44
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I think this is a question of style. Try saying it out loud, and if you kind of sing your conjunction and there is an audible comma-type sing-song inflection, then write it with a comma. If you find yourself pronouncing the sentence with a pretty flat voice and no big pause, write it without a comma.

  • But it wouldn't be wrong to have a comma after coordinating conjunctions when they start at the beginning of a sentence, right? – Tim Nov 12 '16 at 21:37
  • @Tim - I don't think so, I think the comma gives the reader instructions how to approach the sentence. The comma says, make your voice go up, down, and up again here. – aparente001 Nov 12 '16 at 21:39
  • I'm most likely going to stick with this style, but only rarely will I ever have to use it because I like to connect clauses with coordinating conjunctions and make them one whole sentence rather than making it like this: "I'm most likely going to stick with this style. But, only rarely will I ever..." – Tim Nov 12 '16 at 21:43
  • @Tim - for that last example, if you want to draw it out with a comma, maybe "however" would be better. – aparente001 Nov 12 '16 at 21:45
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When a comma is placed after what would otherwise be a coordinating conjunction at the beginning of a sentence, it indicates that the word in question isn't being used as a coordinating conjunction but rather as an introductory modifier, specifically, a conjunctive adverb. When you put a comma after an introductory "but," it takes on the adverbial meaning of "however"; after "so," it takes on the adverbial meaning of "therefore"; after "and," it takes on the adverbial meaning of "also"; etc. This usage is somewhat controversial grammatically, but it happens with such commonality that it can't go unacknowledged.

When the comma is left out, of course, then it's clear you're using the word as a coordinating conjunction to introduce a coordinate clause, which is a type of main clause and so can stand on its own as a sentence. Since the rules of grammar require that you never use a comma after a coordinating conjunction, it's irrefutable that that is the manner in which you are using the word, not as a conjunctive adverb.

By the way, "then" isn't a coordinating conjunction. There are only seven coordinating conjunctions. They are: "and," "but," "for," "or," "nor," "so," and "yet." "Then" is a subordinating conjunction. When it appears at the beginning of a sentence with a comma after it, it is an adverb.

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