It's said that a comma shouldn't be placed before a dependent clause when it comes after the independent clause, but what about when the dependent clause is non-restrictive? For example:

"I can't go shopping today, since I have no money."

In that sentence, "since I have no money" is the dependent clause but it's also a non-restrictive cause, right? If so, would it be wrong to have a comma before it? I've always heard not to place a comma before the dependent clause, but what about when it's non-restrictive? Would it be adviceble to have one? Somewhat like this sentence:

"I'm a fan of his writings, though I don't really keep up with that he's doing."

2 Answers 2


I disagree with since I have no money being non-restrictive. It is an essential piece of information. However the alternative construction does take a comma

Since I have no money, I can't go shipping.

Interestingly, especially in dialogue, you can use a comma with your clause if the intention is to make it an aside

He said, "I can't go shopping, since I have no money." In this case an em-dash or ellipses would also work.

Your clause is restrictive; thus it does not take a comma when following an independent clause. However it would take a comma if it precedes the independent clause or if its intention is as a parenthetical element.

  • Just out of curiosity, what is the significance of mentioning the bit about dialogue? In that case, we are dealing with a different scenario, right?
    – AJK432
    Jan 2, 2019 at 18:20
  • It gives the reader the sense of a pause or perhaps even something muttered.
    – Stu W
    Jan 8, 2019 at 21:42
  • I understand. I just hate it and I think people do not generally have a reason to pause right there so hard. Honestly, when I see the comma separating the tag, I count it just as that, a tag, nothing more. If I counted it as more, it would feel like we are separating the direct object from the verb, which I don't like. Quirk et Al talked a lot about this in the CGEL, but he seemed to think of these constructions as a "gradient of their own".
    – AJK432
    Jan 9, 2019 at 17:16

Ethan, the comma is better but not mandatory in that example. (Better to use 'because' rather than 'since' though.) Your second example is a better illustration of why the comma is better.

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