Would you use a comma before the word "yet" in a statement like: "We'll make a man out of you, yet"?

Version 1: We'll make a man out of you yet.

Version 2: We'll make a man out of you, yet.

What about:

We're not dead, yet.

We're not dead yet.

There's a distinctly different meaning between the two, correct? This first one is an idiomatic reminder that life is long, or something, while the second one is more like a statement of fact that we're not dead because we actually expected to be.

More examples:

We'll make you into a star pupil, yet.

We'll get this all panned out, yet.

What part of speech would you call this use? It still seems like an adverb to me.


  • 1
    The comma adds nothing, IMHO.
    – Drew
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 21:47

1 Answer 1


The word yet in your example sentences could be Merriam-Webster's sense 2c:

2c: at a future time : eventually

or sense 3:

3: nevertheless, however

M-W gives several sentence examples for yet, but none of them use the comma, regardless of the sense (except the one in which yet is part of the phrase "at least not yet"):

I haven't read the book yet.

Has the mail arrived yet?

It's not time to eat yet.

“Are you ready?” “No, not yet.”

We don't yet know what their plans are.

Their suggestions won't be implemented, at least not yet.

We don't have a firm grasp of the situation yet.

The first three example sentences use the word in sense 2c. There don't seem to be example sentences where the meaning is strictly that of "nevertheless, however."

It is not clear to me that the commas change the meaning in any of your examples. If you wanted to emphasize the feeling of "it hasn't happened now, but it could happen sometime in the future," you could use an em-dash. Grammarist has a great explanation and example:

Em dashes can replace colons or serve as harder versions of commas (similar to semicolons). While parenthetical em dashes often operate in pairs (see the examples under the first point above), hard-comma em dashes often function alone at ends of sentences, for example:

The all-renewable energy sector is 30 years away — and always will be. Salon

It’s that time of year again—time for New Year’s Resolutions! Pegasus Books

So, your example sentence could read

We're not dead — yet.

to emphasize the "not now, but perhaps soon" meaning of yet. While it doesn't change the meaning of the sentence per se, it does emphasize yet.

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