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I wonder if a sentence is still correct if you use an introductory adverb as well as an introductory phrase in front of it? If this is the case would you have to use two commas?

Moreover, according to the text, Thomas is the one who breaks down after the infanticide took place and his heartbreaking cries resound through the house and even the neighborhood (6).

It sounds weird to me...

There is another reason why I find his sentence strange: it kills the reading flow of the sentence. If you used parentheses, it would sound much better from my point of view, but I don't know if that is a wrong thing to do because I have never seen it before in writing: "Moreover, (according to the text), Thomas is the one..."

Revised version after discussing this in the comments:

Moreover,(according to the text) Thomas is the one who breaks down after the infanticide has taken place, and his heartbreaking cries resound through the house and even the neighborhood.

or

According to the text, moreover, Thomas is the one who breaks down after the infanticide has taken place, and his heartbreaking cries resound through the house and even the neighborhood.

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    Seems OK to me. What do you think is wrong with it ?
    – Nigel J
    Mar 1, 2018 at 21:59
  • I hardly ever see constructions like this one.Usually, English is pretty strict on making repetitions, long sentences and making things complicated in general when you compare it with German. "Don´t make more than 1 insertion per sentence (compund or complex and compound)","try to not use more than 2 conjunctions per compound or compound and complex sentence" ,etc. That´s why I thought this might be "too much", so to say....German almost invites you to do all these things, since it has so many other flexions of the parts of speech and therefore, a more complicated syntax is possible. Mar 1, 2018 at 23:36
  • If I see something in English that reminds of that kind of complexity (You can, for instance, start a sentence in German like : I, who woke up this morning, immediately got up, ....900 pages later, opened the door.) it is always a red flag. Mar 1, 2018 at 23:43
  • There is another reason why I find his sentence strange: it kills the reading flow of the sentence. If you used parentheses, it would sound much better from my point of view, but I don´t know if that is a wrong thing to do because I have never seen it before in writing: "Moreover, (according to the text), Thomas is the one..." Mar 1, 2018 at 23:49
  • Could you add your comments into the question, please, so that it stands on its own? Thanks.
    – Andrew Leach
    Mar 1, 2018 at 23:50

1 Answer 1

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The quick answer is that there is nothing wrong with the commas in the first line. Strictly, however, the placing of commas is a matter of convention, where the test is whether they assist the reading and clarify meaning. As you see from the sentence you have just read, I should have put the prepositional phrase first and Moreover second. Not starting a sentence with a conjunction is (or till recently used to be) a common stylistic convention.

So “According to the text, moreover, ...” shows the reader immediately that the writer has moved from some more general consideration to the text itself. “, moreover, .. signals that the writer is given further supporting argument.

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  • This is from the Longmans Dictionary I use: [sentence adverb] formal in addition - used to introduce information that adds to or supports what has previously been said: The rent is reasonable and, moreover, the location is perfect. The source of the information is irrelevant. Moreover, the information need not be confidential. ! Moreover is very formal and not common in spoken English. Use besides or also instead. It says "adverb" here. I do see why it might be better to do it your way, though. Mar 2, 2018 at 0:37
  • "Moreover" is not one of those conjunctions that people object to you starting sentences with. Apr 1, 2018 at 12:16
  • @PeterShor Yes, just so. That does not affect my point. Conjunctions like ‘moreover’ and ‘however’ (being longer than ‘and’ and ‘but’, hold up the flow of content for a bit, leaving the listener with what went before. If you look at the first example cited by Martin Novak, a similarity is being being pointed out specifically between ‘the rent’ and the ‘the location’. The point is much more sharply focussed if we write: “The rent is reasonable; the location, moreover, is ideal.”. Longmans is not concerned with style or emphasis.
    – Tuffy
    Apr 1, 2018 at 22:30

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