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As far as I know we don't need a comma in the following sentence

Do A for B.

But what about a backwards way of saying it

For B do A.

Should it be

For B, do A.

with a comma between them?

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  • 1
    That's between you and your style guide. Some styles allow omitting the comma after an introductory prepositional phrase if the phrase is short — up to x number of words. Jul 6 at 19:49
  • @TinfoilHat Thanks. I thought there might be a standard one way or the other.
    – ispiro
    Jul 6 at 19:52
  • Personally, I follow the IBM style guide. They do use a comma in such a case. ( I'm not a native English speaker. )
    – jsv
    Jul 6 at 20:20
  • I'd start with assuming I need the comma, then leave it out if it doesn't add clarity. Jul 6 at 20:20
  • I'm certain this is covered in whatever style guide you or your editor prefer. Jul 7 at 13:57
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It looks like the consensus in the comments is that there is no strict rule here.

It also looks like the actual rule is either to follow whatever guidelines one needs to follow, or, in the absence of such guidelines, follow whatever is clearer.

It also looks like the shorter the sentence, the less chance the comma will be needed, and the longer it is, like this sentence, the more likely.

I'm writing this answer not as an expert, so in case you think this is wrong, or that I misunderstood the aforementioned comments, please feel free to inform me in a comment, or write another answer.

1
  • There are, after all, no rules for commas that work, except to use them where you hear them. If you don't hear them, don't use them. Unlike most punctuation, commas are audible. Jul 7 at 18:43

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