Here is a sample sentence:

The output of Tim's method (and the methods of Mark and Brad, which leverage Tim's method) is much greater than that of Tom's method.

Is this correct? Do I need a second comma? If so, where would I put it? If I removed the parentheses, it seems that there should be a comma after "Tim's method" to separate the clause "which leverage Tim's method" from the rest of the sentence.

Someone had suggested to me that I should remove the comma before "which" and replace "which" with "that", but I don't feel that the result would have the same meaning as the sentence I have above.


(Note: I did take a look at everything I could find by searching "commas inside parentheses", including this post. I don't feel like this post covers the same problem that I have here and, if it does, it is not obvious to me.)

  • 2
    It's fine as it is, including the comma before which and the which itself. No other comma is needed or useful. – Xanne Jun 6 '17 at 20:06
  • 1
    In your case, no other comma is required. For the question "If I removed the parentheses", yes, I would put another comma after method – Yotam Salmon Jun 6 '17 at 22:38
  • You are not comparing the output of Tim's method to that of Tim's method, are you? Do you mean the output of all methods added up? I'd need some help navigating it: The output of Tim's method (combined with...) is much greater than that of Tim's alone. – Yosef Baskin Jun 6 '17 at 22:42
  • Er, yeah sorry, the sentence I have up there is a bit confusing. The actual sentence says something else but it has a bunch of technical jargon that I didn't want to explain so I tried modifying it to something simpler. In any case, I think Xanne and Yotam Salmon answered my question. Thanks everybody! – nukeguy Jun 7 '17 at 4:56
  • If you change which to that, it means that Mark and Brad have some methods that leverage Tim's, and some methods that don't, and you're narrowing down the reference to those that do. When you use which, you're stating that Mark and Brad's methods leverage Tim's method. – Barmar Jun 7 '17 at 5:49

The comma after an adverbial (nested) phrase signals that the parsing returns to the previous (less deep) level of nesting. You wouldn't put a comma before a period or a semicolon, nor would you put one before a closing parenthesis. Those symbols signal 'popping' to a higher level (to the top, for a period), so they supersede what the comma would do.

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