Whenever I read anything, I often notice these commas in between dependent clauses. Are they correct? The answer I'm not looking for is along the lines of, "That's just where you pause."

Here are a couple examples of what I mean:

  1. I'm going to the meeting tomorrow, on a Tuesday.

  2. He loves going outside, in his wheelchair.

Why are these commas placed here?

  • The commas differentiate your sentence from similar ones. For example, if you said outside in his wheelchair (no comma), I might think he has choices of using the wheelchair or not. If not, the comma shows me you are simply elaborating, that outside will come with the wheelchair as a matter of fact. All day, every day is a short list, not a four-word announcement. Jul 19 '17 at 19:19
  • 1
    You might want to check the definition of the word “clause”.  Of the words you have quoted, ‘‘I’m going to the meeting tomorrow’’ and ‘‘He loves going outside’’ are the only clauses — you do not have any examples of commas between clauses, and you do not have any examples of dependent clauses.
    – Scott
    Jul 19 '17 at 20:02

A few things to keep in mind about commas:

1. The usage of commas is not a grammar issue but a punctuation one and is thus a function of style. Even in professional writing, the usage of the Oxford comma varies {*No ifs, ands , or buts}, for example.

2. There are plenty of cases where one could argue a comma splice is occurring even when most would argue otherwise. {Let me tell you something, I hate spinach.}, {I don't know, maybe I'm wrong}. To me, these look like or at least function like adverbial phrases, but one could argue a colon, semicolon, or em-dash would be more proper.

3. Just because a pause is occurring in speech doesn't mean a comma is used. {So I'm going to go to the train station now. Ok?} versus a So of summation {So, in conclusion, the bug turns into the robot.}.

In your examples, there are variables affecting how you would want to punctuate.

1. An aside generally uses a comma. {"Don't touch that, or at least that's what momma says."} E.g. I'm going to a meeting tomorrow, on a Tuesday.

2. The usage of commas often depends on whether the subordinate clause come before or after the main clause. E.g. He loves going outside in his wheelchair versus {In his wheelchair, he loves to go outside.}. The way you have it written, {He loves to go outside, in his wheelchair}, only really works if in his wheelchair is functioning as an aside.

3. Commas are used to solve problems of ambiguity, which might slow down readers. {It's as easy as one two three.} versus {One, two, three strikes you're out ...}.

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