Example sentence:

Susie thought it likely that Mary would avoid her today, considering the way she stormed off last night.

If because of took the place of considering in this sentence, there would be no comma before it, but I’m not sure if the same rule applies to considering since the meaning is different. I naturally put a comma before it, but it sounds off to me. Should there be a comma before considering or not?


Comma is required here. If not, it may confuse the subject of the participle'considering', whether Susie or Marie. Comma offers now the clarity that Susie is the subject.

  • Ah, I see. And if there was no confusion, I wouldn’t use a comma? For instance, if I said ‘Mary would avoid her today considering what Susie said to her last night.’ Now it sounds off without the comma, like there should be a pause there, even though the meaning is clear with or without it... – MooNieu Nov 10 '19 at 9:33
  • The prepositional phrase 'considering the way she stormed off last night' certainly applies to Susie (in the sense that she was the one assessing the situation), but PPs do not have a 'subject'. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 10 '19 at 15:41
  • No it doesn’t! What is your reasoning that it does? The clause it separates refers to both May and Susie, and the comma is associated with neither. The comma is a matter of style, as is often the case. – David Nov 10 '19 at 20:29
  • @David I was trying to get Ram to clarify further. I wasn’t sure whether or not this was one of those cases. I’m still learning about commas and it can be confusing sometimes. I thought at first that I should apply the same rule that’s used for ‘because’ and other subordinate clauses, but then decided to search what to do with ‘considering’ instead because I didn’t think it was in the same group as ‘because’ and could find nothing concerning commas. – MooNieu Nov 10 '19 at 21:03
  • 1
    @P.M.B. — Apologies. Obviously native speakers can be unfamiliar with formal writing. There's no harm in posting on ELL, even if you are not a native speaker to ask questions about formal writing. However I can recommend a book on punctuation someone gave me last Christmas, that you may find "liberating" in that it puts things in perspective and lets you formulate your own principles for punctuation. It is "Making a Point" by David Crystal. – David Nov 10 '19 at 22:58

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