When is correct to use a comma before when? I have read many examples and still don't understand when it is correct to have a comma before.
closed as off-topic by Drew, user140086, choster, BladorthinTheGrey, Mitch Nov 29 '16 at 18:12
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The easiest way to determine whether or not to use a comma is to read your sentence out loud. If there is a natural pause as you read, then a comma is likely appropriate. Consider the previous sentence as an example. If you were to read it aloud, you would have paused between read an then. When you are unsure, it is better to omit the comma as its absence improves readability.
More precisely, commas are used to separate independent clauses. It's impossible to set specific rules about how to use a comma with one word because that word could be used in a number of instances. Instead, think about how the reader would consume the sentence.
1.) There was a time in my life when hanging out with the cool kids was just a dream. [No comma in this instance because there is only one subject (a time in my life when hanging out with the cool kids), one verb (to be), and one object (just a dream)].
2.) I remember a purer time in my life, when hanging out with the cool kids was just a dream. [The comma in this instance separates the two clauses. The first is the action of remembering, where "I" am the subject, the second is dependent upon the first clause only for the subject "time in my life." (You could actually turn this into two sentences with the second starting, "A time..."]