1

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."

1

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? – Allex Kramer Jan 2 at 18:20
  • It gives the reader the sense of a pause or perhaps even something muttered. – Stu W Jan 8 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". – Allex Kramer Jan 9 at 17:16
0

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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.