Why is it that when we use "though" at the end of a sentence, a comma is needed? For example, take the sentence "Good punctuation helps, though." Why is it incorrect to say "Good punctuation helps though"? I've been told the former is correct and, intuitively, it feels correct, but can anyone elaborate on the reasoning behind this? Thanks!

  • 1
    I'm not sure it is incorrect to say "Good punctuation helps though." Apr 6 '20 at 8:09
  • 2
    Though is a 'comment' and not the thing being helped! Apr 6 '20 at 8:29
  • When 'though' is used as an adverb, you need a comma before it. But when it's used as a conjunction (subordinating), you don't need a comma before it. Apr 6 '20 at 9:24
  • This type of construction, I think, has the background in the preceding sentence/clause. That way, it functions like....."...though good functions help..." E.g. Some people still write with pen; They don't expect others to do it, though.'
    – Ram Pillai
    Apr 6 '20 at 12:09
  • 'Though' is a pragmatic marker here (the speaker indicating that they are furnishing a concessive or contrastive). Such markers are outside the matrix sentence and are conventionally offset when tacked on in terminal position (and sometimes when in initial position). Compare the use of the modal (emphasis of truthfulness & importance) marker frankly: 'Frankly, I'd stop seeing him' / 'I'd stop seeing him, frankly.' Note the difference the comma may make: 'I'd talk to him frankly' / 'I'd talk to him, frankly.' May 1 at 14:12

It's when though starts a new clause, which could be written as a separate sentence.

Example: I went to the shops with sue. I didn't really want to.

It could be written as:

I went to the shops with sue, though I didn't really want to.

As the writer says, When speaking you would naturally pause where the comma is.

Though is used as an adverb in this case, applied to the verb is, therefore no comma is strictly necessary. Saying this, I can easily imagine a brief pauses between is and though when speaking the sentence, hence a vocative comma is acceptable. In other words, take your pick. If I can avoid a comma (as in this case), I usually will. It's not wrong either way though.

  • 2
    But the question was about using though at the end of a sentence.
    – nnnnnn
    Jan 1 at 13:15

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