23

Consider

I don't know how outdated it is though.

Should there be a comma before though, as in the following?

I don't know how outdated it is, though.


22

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.

  • 14
    (Oh dear, I think I subconsciously made a joke in the last sentence.) – Noldorin Jan 17 '11 at 19:30
  • I agree with this, though I have to note that I'm seeing more and more places where authors/editors seem to be cutting down on commas and omitting them where they're not strictly required for meaning. I'm doing the same in my own writing and feel it reads a little cleaner (though I still THINK the commas into place when reading). – bikeboy389 Jan 17 '11 at 19:50
  • 1
    @DogLover Yep, that sounds about right! Thanks for sharing. Do you use a pre- and post- comma when however is in the middle of a sentence? That's what I do. – Noldorin Jun 27 '17 at 23:56
  • 1
    @Noldorin Yes I do, except semicolon-comma, i.e. I like semicolons; however, they can be hard to master. I was actually taught the semicolon-comma before "however" rule by my Year 10 English teacher, and it has stuck with me since. Prior to that, I had used comma-comma. It irks me a bit when I only see a preceding comma. – Dog Lover Jun 28 '17 at 0:00
  • 1
    @DogLover, +1 to that. I've seen both abundantly, but I prefer the semicolon-comma way, like you. I don't think I was taught it, mind you! – Noldorin Jun 28 '17 at 0:48
6

I'd use the comma, but modern style would probably omit it. There is a general tendency towards less punctuation. Look at Victorian novels, and then compare with modern prose - there is much less punctuation now. Or look at the King James Bible; that is rife with colons and semi-colons that would not appear nowadays, often not even 'demoted' to commas. Punctuation style has changed over time.

  • Yup, but we do shorter sentences too. All Twitter's fault, of course :) – Benjol Jan 18 '11 at 12:01
5

I strongly prefer the second form, with the comma.

Say out loud, without a pause

I don't know how outdated it is-though

Nonsense-speak to me.

1

I believe both are correct. In general, you would use the comma if you would pause at that point if you spoke it aloud.

protected by RegDwigнt May 15 '12 at 8:59

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