should a comma be used before "then"?

He went to the store then to the barber.


He went to the store, then to the barber.

  • Yes, that works. For very short sentences, skip the comma: He ate had pizza then dessert. – Yosef Baskin May 25 '17 at 21:43
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    The "rules" (such as they are) have very little to do with specific words (such as "then") but rather they deal with the structure of the sentence. – Hot Licks May 26 '17 at 0:46
  • Also check out thepunctuationguide.com – NVZ Jun 26 '17 at 4:06

There are many grammatical rules for the use of commas. One of the best sources I have seen can be found at the website below. http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/commas.htm

Notwithstanding the article cautions that the use of a comma for "a pause in reading is not always a reliable reason to use a comma", I believe providing a cue to pause remains a very important consideration. In particular for someone reading aloud. Sadly, this is something often lost in modern day writing. The length of the sentence, I believe, is immaterial. Imagine a theatre/theater play where commas weren't used! In the example you provide, the use of a comma, in my opinion, is appropriate before the "then".


In the example you provided, both are acceptable but I would say that you should be aware that in some instances adding a comma may change the meaning conveyed. A comma should also be used when listing - "We drove home, then parked the car and then finally went inside."


A comma should be placed before and after "then". From the example: "We drove home, then, parked the car, and then, finally went inside."

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