GrammarPhile Blog

Grammar Question - Commas & Because

Posted by Conni Eversull   Aug 25, 2009 6:00:00 AM

We recently received the following grammar question from one of our customers. I thought this question and answer might be useful to other grammarians and maybe even spark a little discussion.

Question

If you can help me solve this nagging grammar issue, I will be eternally grateful and one of your biggest fans. Does the word because require a comma in the following sentence?

'That might be an exaggeration, because we were not physically abused, but Mama didn't hesitate to use the switch.'

More and more I'm seeing a comma precede the word "because," but I never grew up with that rule. Has the rule changed?"

Answer

In the context, a comma after 'abused' is useful because it breaks the otherwise-assumed cause and effect of 'because.' The commas that you do use, which are appropriate, make the phrase 'because we weren't physically abused' into a parenthetical phrase.

Any other thoughts on this, readers?

Topics: punctuation, grammar

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