1

I have learned that a comma is necessary with expressions like "in my opinion" at the beginning of a sentence.

Now, is it also necessary to have a comma in front of a non-essential expression if this expression is positioned at the end of the sentence like in the following example?

1) The novel became more and more tedious, in his opinion.

The only examples I have found so far are front position (comma needed) and mid-position (commas needed as well).

2

The comma clearly identifies the final phrase as adverbial, but that is also the default for final prepositional phrases, so the comma is not required. You should use it if it will resolve some ambiguity. Some conjunctions, like 'while', change semantically after the nuance of the comma; thus 'He ate, while she slept' does not restrict the time as much as 'He ate while she slept'.

  • @Aml Thanks! If I were to use the comma nonetheless even in non-ambiguous cases like in my example above with "in my/his opinion" at end position would that be completely out of style? – Sarah K Nov 27 '16 at 9:52
  • 1
    No, because there is always some (minor) chance of ambiguity if you delete the comma. Just say the sentence to yourself, and if you find yourself pausing before the preposition then use the comma. (Our subconscious brains understand grammar even when our conscious brains don't.) – AmI Nov 28 '16 at 21:26
1

In my opinion the comma is not always needed at the beginning of a sentence.

And yet the comma is needed at the end of this sentence, in my opinion.

In the second example, I'd use the comma to reflect how I would speak the sentence, and to ensure that no one reads "this-sentence-in-my-opinion" as a unit and then has to mentally backtrack.

In the first example, where there is no ambiguity in how to parse the sentence, I might omit the comma, because, as a general principle, I find that overuse of commas (and other punctuation) to mark out structure within a sentence can lead me to forget the more important structural consideration, namely, that sentences should come to an end.

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