For example, "Race, religion, and gender, are still crucial factor's in someone's success"

Should there be a comma after "gender"? And is this a fixed rule?


1 Answer 1


In a word, no. Race, religion and gender form a compound subject and are followed by the predicate (in this case a complement) are still crucial factor's in someone's success. There should be no comma between a subject and its predicate.

This is a fixed rule to the extent that all descriptive grammars and style guides that I am aware of proscribe the usage. There's a good summary of the issue, with citations from various reference sources, on the Sentence first, with the exemplarily incorrect title:

Adding a comma between the subject and predicate, is inadvisable

Here is a brief extract:

Quirk and Greenbaum’s University Grammar of English, for example, says categorically that a comma 'cannot separate subject from predicate'.

And incidentally, factors is a simple plural, not a possessive. There should be no apostrophe.

  • "The New Oxford Guide to Writing By Thomas S. Kane {1988} doesn't accept the mantra 'Never separate the subject from its verb with a comma' as being an inviolable edict." appears in the duplicate thread. Feb 10, 2018 at 17:43
  • Thank you for that. Ignore the "factors" bit, I'll put that down to a lack of sleep. So is that still true for the following sentence? "What with the time difference, dodgy WiFi connection, and my unpredictable schedule I think that a web-call will be almost impossible until my travels are finished." It just feels counter-intuitive to not add a comma after "schedule".
    – Alex
    Feb 11, 2018 at 6:44
  • @Alex. The subject in the new sentence you cite is I and the simple predicate is think. You would certainly not write I, think that.... The words that end with schedule form a prepositional phrase. These are commonly found at the beginning of sentences and marking them off with a comma is optional. If they are long compounds, as in your case, I might also end them with a comma. Some writers may also separate long, compound subjects from the predicate with a comma if they feel this aids reading. But in general this is a good rule to be aware of, if not always to follow.
    – Shoe
    Feb 11, 2018 at 7:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.