I was always told that, when writing on a page, you should always make sure never to start a new line with a comma.


The man was tired
, so he went to bed.

Is this an actual rule, or just a trend for the sake of tidiness?

Does it apply to other punctuation?

  • I'd say it was more for tidiness. I don't think it's a rule. Also, it doesn't apply for all punctuation. The quote marks are exempted, I believe.
    – Thursagen
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 9:47

2 Answers 2


A comma immediately follows a word; that is, there is no space between the word prior to a comma and the comma itself.

Just as you wouldn't randomly divide a word in half because of a line break (unless indicated with a hyphen), you wouldn't separate the word and the comma that follows it. They should stay together, on the same line.


As far as English is concerned, most punctuation should not be used at the start of a line.

If we must be pedantic, we can say that you could write the first word of a sentence with quotation marks. In that case you'd have punctuation at the beginning.

But commas can stay at the start of a sentence when they divide two clause, introducing a relative one, for example; but in that case it will be in the middle, not at the real start. There is no case where the comma would be at the beginning.

Other examples of punctuation that can start a sentence are dotted lists, for example, still belonging to "punctuation".

About the line break, the comma should stay at the end of the previous line,
like this.

  • 1
    Opening parenthesis, too, can be at the beginning of a new line.
    – prash
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 10:34
  • Yeah, you mean brackets, right?
    – Alenanno
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 10:35
  • 1
    affirmative! (extra characters to let my comment be accepted.)
    – prash
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 11:49

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