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Which of these three options is correct and why? I've included my best guess as to why each one could be considered correct.

  1. He decided that despite the impending thunderstorm he was going to go for a run.
    • Why: despite the impending thunderstorm is not a parenthetical phrase and so should not have commas around it.
  2. He decided that despite the impending thunderstorm, he was going to go for a run.
    • Why: despite the impending thunderstorm is not a parenthetical phrase and so should not have commas around it. However, adding a comma after the phrase adds emphasis and so is okay.
  3. He decided that, despite the impending thunderstorm, he was going to go for a run.
    • Why: despite the impending thunderstorm is a parenthetical phrase and so should have commas around it.

I realize that the word order could be changed to:

He decided that he was going to go for a run despite the impending thunderstorm.

However, my question assumes that the word order needs to remain unchanged.

Here are a couple of similar questions, but none of their answers satisfactorily answer my question.

Comma after "and that"

Using a comma after "that"

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    It IS a parenthetical phrase. – Hot Licks Apr 25 '20 at 23:08
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Use 1 or 3. Why? Since they mean exactly the same thing, both are correct, and neither is confusing.

Number 2 is wrong. Why? Because it's inconsistent: It brackets one end of the phrase with a comma but not the other. And that is confusing.

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  • Thanks Charlie. Would you then say that the following Stephen King quote is punctuated incorrectly as well? “That lesson suggests that in the end, we can only find peace in our human lives by accepting the will of the universe.” goodreads.com/quotes/… – Austin Beer Mar 30 '20 at 13:51
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    @AustinBeer Although you asked Charlie, the absence of an answer from him motivates me to say that the Stephen King quote in your comment is punctuated incorrectly. – Andreas Blass Apr 26 '20 at 1:19
  • Thanks Andreas. That would be my assumption as well. – Austin Beer Apr 30 '20 at 2:18

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