Commas BEFORE dependent clauses

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Dustin Stopher
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Commas BEFORE dependent clauses

Post by Dustin Stopher »

I had this question in response to a recent note I received and wanted some more opinions. If I had a sentence like:

“The book’s research is not only life-changing, but also life-saving.”

or,

“I felt that the information was insightful to modern scientists, and that in the future it will be critical to take into consideration.”

Would the commas included be incorrect? I’ve seen commas used very often in this way to signify a pause, and while they are not formally needed because they do not connect independent clauses, I thought that it was perfectly valid to include them as a stylistic choice. Am I wrong here? Is there some official rule that prohibits comma usage in this way?
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MrsCatInTheHat
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Post by MrsCatInTheHat »

You do not use commas before dependent clauses. The commas given in these examples are incorrect. It is an objective grammar error.
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Bigwig1973
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Post by Bigwig1973 »

Dustin Stopher wrote: I had this question in response to a recent note I received and wanted some more opinions. If I had a sentence like:

“The book’s research is not only life-changing, but also life-saving.”

or,

“I felt that the information was insightful to modern scientists, and that in the future it will be critical to take into consideration.”

Would the commas included be incorrect? I’ve seen commas used very often in this way to signify a pause, and while they are not formally needed because they do not connect independent clauses, I thought that it was perfectly valid to include them as a stylistic choice. Am I wrong here? Is there some official rule that prohibits comma usage in this way?
I wonder, then, if you could use a hyphen for emphasis? That seems a bit harsh, but that may only be because most people don't use hyphens very often. It seems that the rule takes precedence over clarity sometimes. I think that applies to many things in life! I think adherence to rules sometimes makes writers sound like writer-robot-people but, because you're a "writer" rather than an individual, there's less chance of being targeted for anything on a more personal level. I guess, however wrong this may sound, that's good for sensitive people and bad for antagonist people:D There are probably other good reasons for standards!
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Dustin Stopher
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Post by Dustin Stopher »

Bigwig1973 wrote: 28 Aug 2021, 00:33
Dustin Stopher wrote: I had this question in response to a recent note I received and wanted some more opinions. If I had a sentence like:

“The book’s research is not only life-changing, but also life-saving.”

or,

“I felt that the information was insightful to modern scientists, and that in the future it will be critical to take into consideration.”

Would the commas included be incorrect? I’ve seen commas used very often in this way to signify a pause, and while they are not formally needed because they do not connect independent clauses, I thought that it was perfectly valid to include them as a stylistic choice. Am I wrong here? Is there some official rule that prohibits comma usage in this way?
I wonder, then, if you could use a hyphen for emphasis? That seems a bit harsh, but that may only be because most people don't use hyphens very often. It seems that the rule takes precedence over clarity sometimes. I think that applies to many things in life! I think adherence to rules sometimes makes writers sound like writer-robot-people but, because you're a "writer" rather than an individual, there's less chance of being targeted for anything on a more personal level. I guess, however wrong this may sound, that's good for sensitive people and bad for antagonist people:D There are probably other good reasons for standards!
Thanks for taking the time to respond!

I’m actually now wondering if hyphens or em dashes would work for emphasis. I agree that adhering to the rule in this instance makes the writing to sound robotic, though I’m sure there’s good reason for the rule. If anyone knows if dashes or hyphens would work in the above examples, I’d love an answer to that question. But I believe I’ll stick to the rule from now on. :)
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