According to http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/when-to-use-a-comma-before-because , the comma can easily change the meaning of a sentence that contains "because." A perfect example is, "He didn't run away, because he was afraid," versus, "He didn't run away because he was afraid." I am usually very good at figuring out how to use a comma before "because" so that there is no confusion.

Which sentence is correct? I am trying to explain why someone said specific comments.

1. "The comments about the power outage were said, because there was a power outage last year."

2. "The comments about the power outage were said because there was a power outage last year."

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    I would use "made" instead of "said." Also, using the passive voice makes this sentence more vague than it may need to be (or perhaps not, if using a passive construction was your intention). Consider saying it this way (if you agree): "He commented on the power outage because there had been one last year." Or, "The comments about the power outage were made because there had been a power outage last year." In either case I don't think a comma before "because" is required, because there is no pause in the statement when said out loud (as there is in this sentence I've just written). Dec 28, 2016 at 15:45
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    The source you quote states: "You don’t automatically put a comma before the word because, but sometimes you need a comma there to make sure your meaning is clear." [emphasis added]. I read that as meaning that usually you do not need a comma - unless there is ambiguity. Personally, I can't see any ambiguity in your sentence; hence the quoted rule suggests a comma is not required (as already suggested by @MarkHubbard)
    – TrevorD
    Dec 28, 2016 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


As the prior commentator noted, you need to change "said" to "made" to make the sentence idiomatically correct.

In your examples, the clause that begins with because is an adverbial clause, which is defined as a clause that functions to modify the main clause by answering such questions as why, when, where, how, under what condition. Adverb clauses begin with subordinating conjunctions--in your example, because. An adverb clause at the beginning of the sentence is usually set off by a comma, but such a clause in the second position is not set off by a comma.

As the first comment noted, it is better to shift from the passive to the active voice--that is, put an actor in the first position: A speaker made comments about the power outage because an outage occurred last year. Active voice is the natural voice in English, and this construction would be both grammatically and idiomatically correct.

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